9 al-Qaida fighters killed in Yemen missile attack

By AHMED AL-HAJ | June 13, 2012 | 4:17 AM EDT

FILE - In this Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012 file photo,Yemen's Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi gestures as he enters a polling center to cast his vote in Sanaa, Yemen. Yemeni troops and armed tribesmen drove al-Qaida militants from two southern strongholds on Tuesday, a major victory in a U.S.-backed offensive to seize territory held for more than a year by the terror network as it exploited political turmoil to gain a foothold in the strategic area. The victories capped weeks of fighting as Yemen's new President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has pledged to uproot al-Qaida from the south with help from the United States as part of a new cooperation following Saleh's ouster. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed, File)

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen military officials say nine al-Qaida fighters have been killed in a missile attack on a house in a southern town.

The officials say the early Wednesday attack also destroyed a car parked near the house in Azan town in Shabwa province, a hotbed for al-Qaida militants. They say the missile attack was believed to be a drone airstrike.

The officials say some militants who fled the town of Jaar, which was recaptured by government troops and tribal fighters on Tuesday, had taken refuge in Azan. Those fleeing left spray-painting walls and store shutters with slogans in red saying, "Al-Qaida has withdrawn. Al-Qaida was not defeated."

Tuesday's operation also routed militants from Zinjibar, another al-Qaida stronghold. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with army regulations.