Al-Qaeda linked gunman fired on a Yemeni military vehicle killing three soldiers and wounding 11 others near the southern city of Zinjibar, a military source told AFP Tuesday.
Yemen's army has for months been battling Islamist fighters from the group Partisans of Sharia (Islamic law), trying to retake control of Zinjibar, capital of the restive Abyan province.
"Al-Qaeda gunmen attacked Monday evening a military vehicle while en route to a base east of Zinjibar, causing it to overturn," said the official requesting anonymity.
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"Three soldiers were killed and 11 others wounded," in the attack, he said.
Yemeni government forces have been backed by tribal fighters and sometimes supported by US drone strikes in their fight against the Partisans of Sharia, which has controlled most of Zinjibar since May.
Al-Qaeda has profitted from the instability caused by 11 months of protests against Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh, strengthening its positions across the south of the country.
Fighting between government forces and suspected Al-Qaeda fighters in southern Yemen has displaced 45,000 people, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in June.