The suspected terrorists were killed when an air raid targeted their convoy of two pick-up trucks in the eastern suburbs of Lahj province.

"Two air strikes were launched by a US aircraft and completely destroyed two cars carrying  suspected al-Qaida members in the valley of Bana in Lahj's suburbs, and killed five. Some of the dead were believed to be foreign nationals," said the official who did not wish to be named.

Official sources said two US drones were hovering over the area, creating panic among the residents. US intensified its drone strikes on al-Qaida network in Yemen after it closed its diplomatic  mission in Sana'a on last Sunday.

About 34 suspected al-Qaida militants were killed by US drone attacks in less than two weeks  in various regions of the country, according to Yemeni government officials. The Yemeni government has boosted security around Western embassies in Sana'a as precautionary  measure after the US and Britain temporarily evacuated their diplomatic staff from the capital on Tuesday over alert of possible attacks by al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

AQAP was founded in January 2009 after the merger of Saudi and Yemeni branches. The network is led by Yemeni militant Nasser al-Wuhayshi, who declared in July 2011 the group's  allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri, head of the worldwide al-Qaida network, after the death of its founder Osama bin Laden in 2011.

(Agencies)

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