"Qayid al-Dhahab, chief of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in al-Bayda province, was killed along with two of his bodyguards by missiles of a US drone this morning," Xinhua quoted the provincial security official as saying.
According to the provincial security official, the strike took place in Masanih area of Radda town.
Tribal sources in the area told a news agency that about seven missiles were fired at the vehicle of al-Dhahab, killing him and his escorts on the spot. Their bodies were found in their burned- out car.
In February 2012, Qayid was appointed by AQAP to command a branch in al-Bayda after his brother Tariq al-Dhahab was assassinated by the Yemeni intelligence.
The Yemen-based AQAP was founded in January 2009 after the merger of Saudi and Yemeni branches and it is considered as the most 'dangerous' regional branch in the Middle East.
Yemen is also the ancestral home of the late al qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was killed by the US Navy SEALs while he was in a hideout in Abbottabad in Pakistan on May 01, 2011.
(With Agency inputs)