Five ‘Qaeda’, three Yemen troops killed

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Five suspected Al-Qaeda militants and three Yemeni troops died in clashes Sunday in the southeastern province of Hadramawt, scene of many recent attacks on the army, a local official said.

“At dawn, armed forces bombarded a house where Al-Qaeda fighters had barricaded themselves in, killing three of them and wounding others,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

In response other militants arrived from nearby and attacked an army position in the Hadramawt town of Qatan, sparking a shootout, he said.

“Three soldiers were killed and six wounded during four hours of fighting,” the official said, adding: “Two of the attackers died and four were wounded.”

Weapons of various calibre were used in the skirmish and several nearby homes were damaged, witnesses said.

On Thursday a policeman and two militants died in clashes in Mukalla, capital of Hadramawt.

Authorities in the city said they had prevented three suicide car bomb attacks against an official residence, a police barracks and another police site.

The defence ministry said it had “thwarted a dangerous criminal plan by Al-Qaeda” in Mukalla.

To deal with the growing number of attacks attributed to Qaeda-linked militants, the army has stepped up its presence with a view to launching an offensive against the extremists.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, considered by Washington as the most dangerous affiliate of the jihadist network, is active across several parts of Yemen, taking advantage of a collapse of central authority during a 2011 uprising that ousted veteran president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

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