SANAA, Yemen (AP) — A Yemeni security official says gunmen on a motorcycle killed a senior police official in a drive-by shooting south of the capital city of Sanaa.

Col. Abdullah al-Mushki, the deputy police chief of Damar, is the third security official to be assassinated since October in the city, nearly 100 kilometers south of Sanaa.

Officials believe al-Qaida is waging a retaliation campaign against top security and intelligence officials after a military offensive pushed militants out of their strongholds in southern Yemen last year. Washington considers Yemen's al-Qaida branch as the group's most dangerous offshoot.

The security official says the militants fled the scene after killing the police official on Wednesday.

The security official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.