Yemeni security and tribal officials say a suspected U.S. drone strike killed three prominent Al Qaeda leaders overnight in a southern coastal town.

The officials said Tuesday that one of those killed in the strike, which took place in the town of Zinjibar, was in charge of the group's finances in Yemen.

They say Al Qaeda militants cordoned off the area after the strike.

Al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen, viewed by Washington as the group's most dangerous offshoot, has exploited the conflict between Shiite rebels and government forces to expand.

The group is blamed for a number of unsuccessful bomb plots aimed at Americans.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.