It was unclear whether Tuesday's strikes were related to the security alert in place in the country since U.S. officials intercepted a message from al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to operatives in Yemen telling them to "do something."
The message was sent to Nasir al-Wuhayshi, the leader of AQAP, the terror group's Yemeni affiliate. U.S. intelligence believes al-Wuhayshi has recently been appointed the overall terror organization's No. 2 leader.
Three sources told CNN that the United States has information that members of AQAP are in the final stages of planning for an unspecified attack. Recent jailbreaks in Pakistan, Iraq and Libya all have the fingerprints of al Qaeda operations.
Meanwhile, a Yemeni government official not authorized to speak to media told CNN that a Yemeni military helicopter was shot down in Mareb province Tuesday.
He said that the helicopter had been inspecting the country's main oil pipeline -- one that has been subject to repeated attacks -- and added Wednesday that "AQAP is now the prime suspect."
At least eight people were killed, including the 107th Brigade commander, six army escorts and at least one crew member, he said.
AQAP's recent attacks have included a suicide bombing on a pro-government militia in the south in March that killed 12, and an attempted suicide bombing attack on a gas pumping facility in the port city of Balhaf in June.
In July, several soldiers were killed by a bomb in Sanaa after a lull in attacks in the capital.
AQAP has not mounted a large-scale suicide attack on Yemen's security forces since May 2012, when more than 100 soldiers were killed by a suicide bomber as they trained for a parade in Sanaa.
Many of AQAP's operatives, including its leadership, retreated into remote areas after the Yemeni military offensive last year and regrouped.
The Yemeni security forces, extensively reorganized under Hadi, have over the past 18 months recaptured swathes of territory that were briefly held by AQAP, particularly in the south of the country.