US drone strike in Yemen kills seven militant suspects

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A US drone strike in Yemen has killed seven suspected al-Qaeda militants, according to Yemeni officials.

Wednesday's strike targeted a vehicle near the town of Khawlan, around 30km (20 miles) from the capital, Sanaa.

There have been several US drone strikes against militants in Yemen in recent days.

Yemen is considered a stronghold of al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula (AQAP). Militants have gained ground because of the weakness of the central government.

A US-backed military offensive last year pushed the militants back from some of its strongholds in the south, but AQAP is viewed by the US as as the most active and deadly wing of al-Qaeda's terror network.

Wednesday's strike completely destroyed the car it targeted, with the bodies burnt inside the wreckage, eyewitnesses said.

On Tuesday, five people were killed in a strike near the border with Saudi Arabia and on Monday another four people died in a strike in the centre of the country.

At least six more are reported to have been killed in strikes over the weekend.

Earlier this week, Yemeni human rights minister Huriyah Mashhur was quoted as criticising US drone strikes in Yemen, calling for an "alternative strategy".