SANAA - Yemen said senior al-Qaida militants were targeted in Thursday's air strike in al-Bayda province, the first government statement on an incident which local officials said killed 15 people on their way to a wedding.
Local officials said the wedding party was hit in an air strike on Thursday in the south of Yemen after being mistaken for an al-Qaida convoy, and five people were also injured.
The government's statement, issued late on Friday, made no mention of the wedding or civilian casualties.
"An air strike was carried out at about 4:30 in the afternoon of (Thursday), targeting a car belonging to a leader," an official of the government's security committee was quoted as saying in the statement carried by the state news agency.
In the vehicle "were a number of al-Qaida leaders and members who were among the most high-ranking and who had been involved in planning terrorist operations," said the statement.