'Al-Qaeda attack' kills 20 Yemeni soldiers

Yemen struggled with regular attacks on its security forces. These are usually blamed on AQAP

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Gunmen in Yemen killed at least 20 Yemeni soldiers and wounded six on Monday during an attack on a checkpoint in Hadramawt province in the southeast, the country’s official news agency said on Monday

"Twenty soldiers were killed in the armed attack on an army checkpoint" near Reida, 135 kilometres [85 miles] east of the provincial capital Mukalla, Saba said.

Security sources said the toll was eight dead and six wounded earlier.

"Armed men aboard several vehicles attacked a checkpoint near Reida," 135 kilometres (85 miles) east of Hadramawt provincial capital Mukalla, "killing eight soldiers and wounding six more", one source told AFP.

Another said the attack appeared to be the work of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

"The attackers would appear to be in al-Qaeda," he said.

Yemen has seen regular attacks on its security forces, usually blamed on AQAP, which remains active in the south and east despite several military campaigns to crush it.

On March 18, a suspected Al-Qaeda suicide car bombing at a military intelligence headquarters killed one person and wounded 13.

The attacker detonated the car outside the gate to the security building in Tuban, 15 kilometres north of Aden, killing a guard.

That attack came two days after three suspected al-Qaeda militants, one a Saudi, were killed in the southern province of Shabwa when a car bomb they were preparing apparently detonated accidentally.

Yemen is the ancestral home of Osama bin Laden and the home base of AQAP, which Washington views as the jihadist network's most dangerous franchise.

The United States launches regular drone attacks in support of Sanaa's campaign against Al-Qaeda and has killed dozens of militants in a sharply intensified campaign over the past year.

AQAP took advantage of the weakening of the central government in Sanaa after a popular uprising that began in 2011 forced president Ali Abdullah Saleh from power early the following year.

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