A drone attack has killed three suspected al-Qaeda-linked fighters in Yemen's eastern Hadramout province, a local official said.

"The three armed men were travelling in a vehicle along a desert stretch between Yemen and Saudi Arabia's border when the drone shot two rockets at them. All three are dead," a local official told Reuters news agency.

No details were given on whether it was a US or Yemeni drone, the agency said.

The Associated Press news agency also carried reports of strikes against fighters on Saturday. 

Earlier this month, the Yemeni army sent extra troops to the Wadi Hadramout region in northeastern Yemen to counter attempts by the Ansar al-Sharia armed group to declare an Islamic emirate in the city of Seiyoun.

Ansar al-Sharia is recognised as an offshoot of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

AQAP exploited a power vacuum wrought by the 2011 uprising that eventually overthrown President Ali Abdullah Saleh to carve out areas of dominance in south and east Yemen. Since then, AQAP has repeatedly attacked state institutions, including army camps and state buildings across the US-allied country, killing hundreds of people.

An ally of the West, with a population of 25 million, Yemen is trying to end three years of political unrest, which began when mass protests erupted in 2011 against Saleh.

The US considers AQAP one of the most dangerous branches of al-Qaeda and lends military, financial and logistical support to Yemen's government, including regular drone strikes.

Source: Agencies