Yemeni security officials say suspected Islamic militants have ambushed the car of a senior army commander in the southern port city of Aden, killing him and two companions.

They say Col. Badr al-Yafaei, commander of the Badr base in central Aden, and the two traveling with him were gunned down before dawn Saturday as he headed home. They say the assailants escaped.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Al-Qaida's Yemeni affiliate has been targeting army and security officers in Aden, where it and other militant groups have gained a foothold since forces loyal to the internationally recognized government retook the city last year from Shiite rebels.