The governor of Yemen's second city Aden was killed on Sunday by a car bomb that tore through a residential neighbourhood, a local official and witnesses said.
The attack killed Jaafar Saad and an unspecified number of his bodyguards in the Tawahi district of the major port city, the sources said.
Tawahi has become a stronghold in recent months for jihadists including Al-Qaeda, whose militants have expanded their presence across the city.
Saad was only recently appointed governor and was known to be close to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, who returned to Aden last month after several months in exile in Riyadh.
Pro-Hadi forces, backed by a Saudi-led coalition, have battled Iran-backed rebels in Yemen since March, after the insurgents overran the capital Sanaa and advanced south, forcing Hadi's government to flee.
Saad's death comes a day after the country's UN envoy held talks with Hadi in Aden aimed at kickstarting peace talks between the warring sides.