At least 13 people have been killed on their way to a wedding in Yemen by a suspected United States drone strike, local officials have said.

The air strike occurred on Thursday in the village of Qaifa, in Yemen's central al-Bayda province.

A military official told Associated Press news agency that initial information indicated the drone operators mistook the wedding party for an al-Qaeda convoy. He said tribesmen known to the villagers were among the dead.

Another security official said al-Qaeda fighters were suspected to have been travelling with the wedding convoy.

Media reports said that the strike left charred bodies on the road and vehicles on fire.

Yemen is among a handful of countries where the US acknowledges using drones, although it does not comment on the practice.

The US considers Yemen's branch of al-Qaeda to be the most active in the world.

Human Rights Watch said in a detailed report in August that US missile strikes in Yemen, including armed drone attacks, have killed dozens of civilians.

On Monday, missiles fired from a US drone killed at least three others travelling in a car in eastern Yemen.

Source: Agencies