An airstrike has killed al Qaida's No 2 leader in Yemen and five others travelling with him in one car, officials say.
If confirmed, Saeed al-Shihri's death would be a major blow to the militant group.
Yemen defence officials said the missile that killed al-Shihri, a Saudi national, was believed to have been fired by a US operated drone.
The US does not usually comment on such attacks although it has used drones in the past to go after al Qaida members in Yemen.
A senior official at the Yemeni president's office confirmed the attack, but said DNA tests have yet to establish al-Shihri's identity.
Al-Shihri's death would amount to a major breakthrough for US efforts to cripple the group in Yemen, which is considered a crucial battleground with the terror network. The impoverished nation on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula is on the doorstep of Saudi Arabia and fellow oil-producing nations of the Gulf and lies on strategic sea routes leading to the Suez Canal.
Al Qaida's Yemen branch is seen as the world's most active, planning and carrying out attacks against targets in and outside US territory. The group took advantage of the political vacuum during unrest inspired by the Arab Spring last year to take control of large swaths of land in the south.
But the Yemeni military has launched a broad US-backed offensive and driven the movement from several towns.