Threats from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemeni arm of al-Qaida, have escalated since a yearlong revolt forced long-time President Ali Abdullah Saleh from office early this year.
Yemeni forces supported by tribal fighters and the U.S. military have ramped up their campaign against al-Qaida strongholds in southern Yemen.
A military source in the Yemeni army told the independent Yemen Post on condition of anonymity that the army had forced al-Qaida from parts of Abyan, killing several militant leaders in the process.
The International Committee of the Red Cross this week expressed concern over the growing number of civilian casualties due to fighting in southern Yemen, however.
Missiles fired from unmanned aerial vehicles reportedly operated by the CIA have taken out key al-Qaida targets, including leading ideologue Anwar al-Awlaki, in the past.
A report Thursday in The Wall Street Journal suggests U.S. officials may offer more information about drone strikes while maintaining a certain level of secrecy following a series of lawsuits filed by groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union.