Yemen official says 7 suspected militants killed

Yemenis set tires on fire during a protest against the inflation of fuel prices in Sanaa, Yemen, Wednesday, July 30, 2014. Yemeni protesters blocked roads by burning tires on streets in the Yemeni capital against the government's decision to raise fuel prices. The fuel crisis which hit the country for the past several months has lead to many gas stations shutting down and cars queuing for miles at stations that still sell fuel. The crisis affected public transportation drivers mostly. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

SANAA, Yemen (AP) - Two separate airstrikes in Yemen's south killed seven suspected militants Saturday, a Yemeni security official said.

The official said three suspected militants were killed when an airstrike hit their vehicle north of Ahwar town, in the southern Abyan province. The other airstrike hit a gathering of militants in the same region, killing four, the official said.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. It was not clear if the airstrikes were carried out by U.S. drones, commonly used to target suspected militants in Yemen, or government jets.

The U.S. considers al-Qaida's Yemeni branch to be its most dangerous. 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 local security forces.