World

Official: Drone kills 9 suspected al-Qaida fighters in Yemen amid search for American hostage

  • In this Friday, Dec. 5, 2014 photo, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel greets two members of the US Air Force before boarding his aircraft to departing on an overseas trip at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. Speaking in Afghanistan Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, Secretary Hagel said American photojournalist Luke Somers "and a second non-U.S. citizen hostage were murdered" by al-Qaida militants during a failed U.S. rescue attempt. (AP Photo/Mark Wilson, Pool) POOL PHOTO

    In this Friday, Dec. 5, 2014 photo, U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel greets two members of the US Air Force before boarding his aircraft to departing on an overseas trip at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. Speaking in Afghanistan Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, Secretary Hagel said American photojournalist Luke Somers "and a second non-U.S. citizen hostage were murdered" by al-Qaida militants during a failed U.S. rescue attempt. (AP Photo/Mark Wilson, Pool) POOL PHOTO  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - This image made from video posted online by militants on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows Luke Somers, an American photojournalist born in Britain and held hostage by al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen. The sister of American hostage Luke Somers said Saturday Dec. 6, 2014 he was killed in failed rescue attempt in Yemen. (AP Photo/Militant Video)

    FILE - This image made from video posted online by militants on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows Luke Somers, an American photojournalist born in Britain and held hostage by al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen. The sister of American hostage Luke Somers said Saturday Dec. 6, 2014 he was killed in failed rescue attempt in Yemen. (AP Photo/Militant Video)  (The Associated Press)

  • This image made from militant video posted online by militants on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows Luke Somers, an American photojournalist born in Britain held hostage by al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen.  Somers has been killed in a failed rescue attempt, his sister said Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014. Lucy Somers told The Associated Press that she and her father learned of her 33-year-old brother Luke Somers' death from FBI agents at 0500 GMT (12 a.m. EST) Saturday. (AP Photo/militant video)

    This image made from militant video posted online by militants on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows Luke Somers, an American photojournalist born in Britain held hostage by al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen. Somers has been killed in a failed rescue attempt, his sister said Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014. Lucy Somers told The Associated Press that she and her father learned of her 33-year-old brother Luke Somers' death from FBI agents at 0500 GMT (12 a.m. EST) Saturday. (AP Photo/militant video)  (The Associated Press)

A security official in Yemen says a suspected U.S. drone strike in the country's south has killed nine alleged al-Qaida militants amid the search for an American hostage.

The official said early Saturday the strike targeted militant hideouts in the southern province of Shabwa.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to brief journalists.

At least six suspected militants were killed in an airstrike in the same province last month.

The U.S. considers Yemen's al-Qaida branch to be the world's most dangerous as it has been linked to several failed attacks on the U.S. homeland.

This strike come amid a search for American photojournalist Luke Somers, held by al-Qaida militants following his abduction in Yemen's capital, Sanaa, in September 2013.