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Suspected US drone strike kills 4 militants in southern province of Abyan

Yemeni security officials say a suspected US drone strike killed four al-Qaida militants in the country's south.

The officials say the attack took place around dawn Saturday in an area called Deyfa in Abyan province. Officials spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to brief the media.

Yemeni forces battled al-Qaida in Abyan province last year, routing out militants from major cities that al-Qaida had overrun during the country's 2011 political turmoil. The militants fled to surrounding mountainous areas.

According to several research groups and The Associated Press's own reporting, there has been a dramatic rise in such drone strikes in Yemen since the country's new U.S.-backed president assumed power early last year.

Washington says al-Qaida in Yemen is among the group's most dangerous and active branches worldwide.