Officials in Yemen say they have foiled al-Qaida plots to take over banks and government buildings in a central province.

The Interior Ministry said in a statement Thursday that al-Qaida's local branch planned to seize buildings in the central province of Bayda last week. That province has witnessed a string of attacks before.

It did not elaborate or offer other evidence of the plot.

Al-Qaida in the Arabic Peninsula, the group's local branch, is considered by the U.S. to be the world's most dangerous arm of the group. The U.S. routinely targets suspected militants from the group in drone strikes.

Last year, officials say a threat that began with a message from al-Qaida in Yemen led to the U.S. closing embassies across the Middle East and Africa.