Prominent Yemeni commander among four killed in suspected al-Qaeda attack in Abyan

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A bombing in southern Yemen on Thursday killed four fighters loyal to the Southern Transitional Council, including a prominent commander who previously survived assassination attempts by al-Qaeda, a security official said.

The roadside bomb detonated while their convoy was near the village of Mudiyah in Abyan province, said the source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The convoy had been en route to a flashpoint area that has seen regular confrontations with al-Qaeda fighters.

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There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast which killed Abdullatif al-Sayyid, the commander of the Security Belt Forces in Abyan province.

The force, tasked with protecting southern regions of Yemen, has played a key role in the fight against extremists.

It is loyal to Yemen's Southern Transitional Council (STC), which confirmed Sayyid’s death in a statement.

Sayyid, who led several major offensives against extremists, had survived several attempts to kill him ordered by al-Qaeda, the source said.

Thursday’s bombing comes more than a week after a suspected al-Qaeda attack killed five soldiers in Wadi Omran in Abyan.

In June, suspected al-Qaeda militants killed two soldiers at a military checkpoint in the southern province of Shabwa.

Yemen erupted into conflict in 2014 when Iran-backed Houthi militia seized the capital Sanaa.

The impoverished country is a hotbed for extremists such as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

A leading AQAP member, Hamad bin Hamoud al-Tamimi, was killed in late February in southern Yemen in a suspected US airstrike.

With AFP

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