A U.S. newspaper says American intelligence officials now consider a branch of al-Qaida in Yemen to be a greater security threat to the United States than the core group in Pakistan.
In a report published in The Washington Post Wednesday, unnamed officials say al-Qaida in Yemen is seen as more agile and aggressive.
The report says officials are considering sending CIA drone aircraft to Yemen to battle militants, as they have done in Pakistan.
Yemeni authorities announced Wednesday that security forces have regained control of the southern city of Loder, following several days of clashes between soldiers and suspected al-Qaida militants.
Officials say at least 12 militants were killed in the fighting. Earlier, the Yemeni army said Adel Saleh Hardaba, believed to be al-Qaida's second-in-command in Loder, was among the dead.
Also Wednesday, rights group Amnesty International accused Yemeni authorities of violating international law in a crackdown on al-Qaida and other domestic security threats.
Amnesty blames U.S. pressure, in part, for Yemen's violations, including the extrajudicial killing of those linked to al-Qaida.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.