The fighting took place in Hudaydah province, a principle al-Qaida stronghold. It was home to most of the attackers who struck outside the U.S. Embassy in 2008, killing 10 Yemeni guards and four civilians.
The security official said forces acted on a tip. He was spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
Deputy Interior Minister Brig. Gen. Saleh al-Zawari said forces would continue to strike against al-Qaida until the group's powerful branch in Yemen is eliminated.