A double overnight attack, one a suicide car bombing, by Al Qaeda suspects on a barracks in southeast Yemen killed four soldiers and 10 insurgents dead, a military official told AFP Saturday.
The suicide car driver rammed his booby-trapped vehicle into the perimeter wall of the barracks at Qatan in restive Hadramawt province while insurgents stormed the entrance with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, the official said.
"The soldiers responded and repelled the attackers" after violent clashes leading to the death of "four soldiers and 10 insurgents, as well as wounded people on both sides," the official added.
Fighting between the army and the attackers in Qatan carried on "until dawn", while military planes flew overhead, residents contacted by telephone said.
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On Saturday morning "traffic in the city was almost at a standstill after a terrible night," worsened by a power cut, one resident said.
Attacks on the army are frequent in Qatan, where three soldiers and six insurgents died on August 17 during four hours of fighting after the army attacked a house where Al-Qaeda fighters had barricaded themselves in.
In Shibam, a historic town also in Hadramawt province known as the Manhattan of the Desert, three suspected Qaeda fighters died on Saturday when the army bombarded the house where they were holed up, another military official said.
A fourth member of the cell, which was readying attacks on the army, was arrested while trying to flee from the house, the official said.
The army has strengthened its presence in Hadramawt province with a view to a crackdown on the extremist network after an increase in armed attacks attributed to Al-Qaeda.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, considered by Washington as the most dangerous affiliate of the jihadist network, is active across several parts of Yemen, taking advantage of a collapse of central authority during a 2011 uprising that ousted veteran president Ali Abdullah Saleh.