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Al-Qaeda launches deadly offensive on Yemeni city

Military posts, the local police HQ and bank branches were targeted by gunmen, as some buildings were briefly captured

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An overnight raid of by dozens of al-Qaeda militants on Yemeni government buildings and military posts in Seyoun, the second largest city in the south-eastern Hadramout province, killed at least 32 people, Al Arabiya News Channel reported on Saturday.

Main military posts, the local police headquarters and bank branches were targeted by the gunmen, and some buildings were briefly captured overnight. The gunmen, however, had withdrawn by the morning.

"They wanted to capture the city and control it," a security official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

Al-Qaeda has conducted many hit-and-run attacks since the Yemeni army drove it from its strongholds in Abyan and Shabwa provinces, also in the south, last month.

The militants arrived in 15 pickup trucks from desert areas outside Seyoun and proceeded to attack various government buildings, the official said.

Gulf Arab countries and the United States are concerned about violence in Western-allied Yemen, a neighbor of major oil exporter Saudi Arabia and home to one of al Qaeda's most active wings.

(with Reuters)