ADEN: Al Qaeda suspects killed seven policemen in an attack on a checkpoint in southeast Yemen on Sunday, a security official said, a day after clashes between the army and militants left 40 dead.
“A group of al Qaeda terrorists in two vehicles opened machinegun fire on a checkpoint killing seven policemen” in Shibam, a town in the southeastern province of Hadramawt, the official told AFP.
Al Qaeda-linked militants from the group Partisans of Sharia (Islamic law) have launched a wave of attacks in the region since former President Ali Abdullah Saleh handed power to his deputy, Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, in February.
On Saturday, officials said that heavy fighting between the army and fighters who tried to take over several army posts left 40 people dead – 28 soldiers and 12 militants – in the southern Lahij province.
Al Qaeda members also sabotaged a 320-kilometre gas pipeline linking Marib province to Balhaf terminal on the Gulf of Aden, all in the country’s restive south, on Friday.
The pipeline attack came shortly after two US drone attacks in eastern Yemen targeted al Qaeda suspects killing seven people, six of them militants, according to a local official in Shabwa province.
The Partisans of Sharia have exploited a central government weakened by a year of anti-regime protests to strengthen their positions, launching deadly attacks against the army especially in Yemen’s mostly lawless south and southeast.
Last month, 185 soldiers were killed in a massive assault by al Qaeda militants on an army camp near Zinjibar.
The United States says the Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, is the most active branch of the global terror network.