Aden (Yemen), Aug 2 (IANS): At least six soldiers of Yemen's government forces were killed in an attack carried out by al-Qaeda militants in the turbulent southern province of Abyan, a military official told media.
"At dawn, units of the government forces, stationed in Wadi Omran and Mudiyah districts of Abyan province, were hit by a large-scale attack by al-Qaeda gunmen approaching from multiple directions," said the official requesting anonymity on Tuesday.
The assault continued for several hours, killing six soldiers and injuring five others, he said, adding that a number of al-Qaeda militants were also reportedly killed during the confrontation.
He noted that the attack took place amid a surge in al-Qaeda actions across key regions in Abyan over the past several weeks, Xinhua news agency reported.
Local residents reported the arrival of militants from neighbouring provinces of Shabwa and Al-Bayda, where the terrorist group maintains strongholds.
The military escalation highlights the persistent security threats posed by al-Qaeda's Yemeni faction, referred to as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
With peace talks stalled, the conflict between Houthi rebels and the Yemeni government backed by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition shows no signs of abating.
The civil war and power vacuum in Yemen have allowed AQAP and other extremist groups to flourish, posing a severe security threat within Yemen's borders and beyond.