Eight Yemen soldiers dead from ‘Qaeda’ clashes

Filed on May 31, 2011

ADEN Suspected Al-Qaeda fighters killed six Yemeni soldiers on Tuesday in an attack near the southern city Zinjibar, a security official said, while a medic said two others had died of their wounds.

And later in the day, a car bomb targeted a security forces convoy in the same area, another security official said, leaving an unknown number of dead and wounded, according to witnesses.

The first attack was on a military checkpoint about a kilometre (less than a mile) from Zinjibar. Witnesses said the militants also set fire to 10 military vehicles.

A medic at Jumhuriya hospital in the main southern city of Aden said that two of the 10 soldiers wounded in the first Tuesday attack had died of their wounds, bringing the toll to six dead and eight wounded.

Later in the day, a car bomb targeted a security force convoy carrying reinforcements to Zinjibar, where troops are battling alleged Al-Qaeda militants, the second security official said.

The official did not give a casualty toll, but witnesses told AFP that there were a number of dead and wounded, including a high-ranking officer.

The explosion targeted the passing convoy, which was carrying reinforcements from Aden, near Dofas, a military checkpoint about one kilometre (less than a mile) short of Zinjibar, the official said.

A source close to the attackers said that “two suicide bombers were in the car when it exploded,” adding that the attack resulted in dead and wounded among the soldiers.

Another medic at a military hospital in Aden said that two soldiers from the 25th mechanised brigade had died of wounds sustained in fighting with militants in Zinjibar.

The military hospital had on Monday received 40 soldiers wounded in fighting in the city, some of whom were in a serious condition, the medic added.

A security official said on Sunday that suspected Al-Qaeda gunmen had taken control of most of Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan province.

Before Tuesday’s attack, the defence ministry said 21 soldiers, including a number of officers, had been killed in the fighting.

And 34 soldiers from the 25th mechanised brigade and the 31st armoured brigade were wounded in clashes with “terrorist elements” in Zinjibar, the defence ministry’s news website said.

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