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Yemeni officials say US warships fire on al-Qaida positions

Men walk amid the rubble of a house destroyed by a Saudi-led airstrike on the outskirts of Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

Men walk amid the rubble of a house destroyed by a Saudi-led airstrike on the outskirts of Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)  (The Associated Press)

Yemeni security officials say they suspect U.S. warships have been firing cannons and rockets targeting al-Qaida militants in the country's southern coastal areas.

They said on Thursday that the naval strikes, underway for five days, targeted mountainous areas north of the coastal town of Shakra where militants have been massing fighters. Dozens of al-Qaida fighters are assembling there as well as north of the nearby town of Zinjibar.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to reporters. They say al-Qaida militants on Thursday attacked the town of Lauder, further to the east, killing six soldiers.

Al-Qaida in Yemen, considered by Washington to be one of the most dangerous of the group's offshoots, has exploited the chaos of Yemen's civil war to seize territory.