By Carlo Muñoz - 05/03/12 10:02 PM EDT
Washington refused to comment on the strikes, according to reports by the Associated Press.
But Wednesday's attack, likely carried out by CIA-operated unmanned drones, comes weeks after U.S.airstrikes killed a dozen members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Abyan province in southern Yemen.
The group, which is al Qaeda's main Yemen cell, is considered by American military and intelligence officials as the most active and violent among the group's various factions.
The group was behind a failed 2009 plot to blow up an American airliner above Detroit and a 2010 attempt to set off a car bomb in the middle of Times Square in New York City.
Former AQAP leader Anwar al Awlaki is believed to have spurred on Nidal Malik Hassan to kill 13 U.S. soldiers during a shooting spree at the Army's base in Ft. Hood, Texas.
The Yemen cell's violent reputation prompted Langley in April to request White House permission to ramp up its drone campaign in the country.
That expanded authority would allow the agency to hit suspected terrorist targets in Yemen even when it doesn’t know their identities.
Wednesday's airstrike also comes as Yemeni forces in the midst of a massive military campaign to flush out AQAP elements from their strongholds in the south.
The nearly month-long offensive has left hundreds of government troops and al Qaeda fighters wounded or dead.
American and Yemeni warships bombarded the terror group's hideouts in the coastal cities near the southern town of Zinjibar in March, as the beginning of the offensive.
Military officials claim 29 AQAP were killed during the alleged joint operation on March 23, according to reports by Radio Free Europe and Al-Arabiya.
The naval bombardment took place days after Ansar al-Shariah, a jihadist group tied to AQAP, who claimed responsibility killing American Joel Wesley.
The U.S. Navy has denied any involvement in the shelling of suspected al Qaeda targets in Abyan.