(CNN) -- The Yemeni Air Force conducted an airstrike on a suspected al Qaeda hideout ahead of an "imminent attack," according to Yemen's Ministry of Defense.
The strike on Sunday targeted a group of suspected militants in the southern Abyan region, the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
"The group was planning an imminent attack on a strategic installation in retaliation for Yemen's intensified efforts to crack down on the militants," the statement said.
The airstrike comes as part of a widening crackdown on suspected al Qaeda members since the attempted bombing of an American airliner in December. The suspect in the failed bombing, Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab, spent time in Yemen and is said to have acquired the explosive device from someone in that country. The group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has claimed responsibility for the plot.