Yemeni witnesses say five suspected al-Qaida militants were killed in an alleged U.S. drone strike in southern Yemen.

The witnesses say a missile struck the militants' vehicle on Wednesday in the southern Shabwa province, completely destroying it. They spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.

U.S. drone strikes have killed dozens of suspected militant in Yemen over the past decade.

Yemen is embroiled in a civil war pitting the internationally recognized government and a Saudi-led coalition against Shiite Houthi rebels and army units loyal to a former president. The fighting has allowed al-Qaida and an Islamic State affiliate to expand their reach, particularly in the country's south.