ADEN, Yemen, - At least three members of the Yemen-based al-Qaeda branch were killed, in a U.S. drone strike early Thursday morning, in the country's south-eastern province of Shabwa, a military official told Xinhua.

At about 6:00 a.m. local time, unmanned U.S. aircraft fired a number of missiles at a house, suspected of being a hideout of the al-Qaeda terrorist group, the Yemeni military source said, on condition of anonymity.

Residents near the scene in the Saeid region in Shabwa confirmed to Xinhua that the air strike destroyed the house used by al-Qaeda operatives.

An intelligence officer in the province said, a mid-level commander of the Yemen-based al-Qaeda offshoot was believed to be killed in the strike.

Details about the identities of the killed militants are not immediately available.

Yemen's south-eastern province of Shabwa and central province of al-Bayda, where dozens of al-Qaeda members are believed to be based, have been the focus of American-led air strikes.

The Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), also known locally as "Ansar al-Sharia," emerged in Jan, 2009, claiming responsibility for a number of terrorist attacks against Yemen's army and governmental institutions.

The AQAP and Daesh-linked terrorists, took advantage of the security vacuum and ongoing civil war to expand their influence and seize more territories in southern Yemen.

Security in Yemen has further deteriorated since Mar, 2015, when war broke out between the Shiite Houthi group, supported by former President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and government forces, backed by a Saudi-led Arab coalition.

Over 10,000 people have been killed in ground battles and air strikes since then, many of them civilians.