Yemeni security officials say a militant attack in Abyan province in the south of the country has killed four soldiers and wounded three.

The officials say two Yemeni army patrols were targeted with two explosions on Monday. They suspect al-Qaida was behind the attack.

The officials say improvised explosive devices were planted on a main road. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to media.

The U.S. considers al-Qaida's Yemeni branch to be its most dangerous. U.S. drone strikes have targeted the militants as the Yemeni government has waged repeated offensives to try to drive them out of the south.

The group has retaliated with a series of attacks against security forces.