Officials says ‘Qaeda’ gunmen kill five Yemeni soldiers

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Suspected Al-Qaeda militants killed five Yemeni soldiers in an attack on Saturday on a checkpoint southeast of Sanaa, an official said, while two assailants were reportedly killed.

The attack targeted an army checkpoint in the district of Rada, where the interior ministry said late Friday it mounted security measures following intelligence about possible attacks by Al-Qaeda militants.

Five soldiers were killed and several others were wounded in the attack, the local government official told AFP, adding that some gunmen were also killed.

The Sep.net news website, which is linked to the defense ministry, said two gunmen died in the exchange of fire.

In other unrest, unidentified gunmen suspected of being Al-Qaeda militants shot dead an army intelligence local chief in the southern city of Mukalla, a security official said.

Two gunmen on a motorbike opened fire on Brigadier General Ali Ahmed Abdelrazzaq outside his home in the coastal city, the official said.

Al-Qaeda loyalists seized large swathes of south and east Yemen in 2011, taking advantage of a decline in central government control during an 11-month uprising that forced veteran president Ali Abdullah Saleh from power in 2012.

Government forces have since recaptured much of the territory with support from U.S. drone strikes, but the jihadists retain bases in the desert east.

Meanwhile, thousands of separatists in south Yemen demonstrated in Aden to commemorate the 1994 war which ended with northern forces overrunning the south ending a secession attempt against the republic that was unified in 1990.

“O southerners, shout loud -- independence or death,” chanted the demonstrators gathered in Al-Arood Square in the Khormaksar neighborhood of the port city.