At least 16 people were killed Friday in an attack by suspected al-Qaeda insurgents on a nursing home in Yemen's southern city of Aden, a security official said.

The dead include four Indian nurses, local guards and cooks, the official said on condition of anonymity.

He did not say if the victims included any of the elderly residents.

However, independent news website Adan al-Ghad reported that the dead included at least 12 residents.

Four unknown insurgents with machine guns stormed the nursing home in Aden's Sheikh Othman district and once inside began firing at random, according to the report.

The attackers escaped the scene.

Pictures posted online showed purported victims of the attack lying on the ground covered in blood.

There was no government comment.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, the latest in a series of assaults in the southern city.

Yemen's internationally recognized government is based in Aden as Iran-backed rebels are in control of the capital Sana'a.

In recent months, Aden has seen a spate of attacks.

In January, at least 10 people were killed in a car bombing near the presidential palace in Aden.

Pro-government forces had recaptured Aden from Houthi rebels in July.

But the uptick in attacks in Aden shows that the government has yet to tighten its control on the port city.

The al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has taken advantage of the conflict between the Saudi-backed government and Iran-allied rebels to expand its influence in the impoverished country.

Four suspected al-Qaeda militants were killed on Friday in a US drone strike on their vehicle in Yemen's south-eastern Shabwah province, witnessed said.

An unidentified number of other extremists were injured in the strike in Radoom district, which al-Qaeda had fully seized last month, the witnessed added.

The United States has launched several airstrikes against al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen in recent years.

AQAP is regarded as one of al-Qaeda's most active branches in the world.

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