File picture shows a soldier manning a checkpoint in Yemen's capital Sanaa, on July 21, 2013
File picture shows a soldier manning a checkpoint in Yemen's capital Sanaa, on July 21, 2013 © Mohammed Huwais - AFP/File
File picture shows a soldier manning a checkpoint in Yemen's capital Sanaa, on July 21, 2013
AFP
Last updated: October 18, 2013

Suicide bomber kills 12 soldiers in south Yemen

Six soldiers were killed and 17 wounded in a suicide car bombing Friday of a military command centre in southern Yemen, the defence ministry said, lowering an earlier death toll.

Military and security sources had originally given a toll of 12 dead and six wounded for the attack in Abyan province.

The blast in the Ahwar district targeted the 111th Brigade's command centre, the ministry said, adding that its chief, General Mohammed Hussein al-Bakhiti, was seriously wounded.

A military source said the bomber had used an armoured vehicle to carry out the attack.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

On Thursday, gunmen suspected of membership in Al-Qaeda carried out two attacks targeting a police post and a security checkpoint near Abyan, military sources said.

A soldier was killed and two others wounded in the attack on the security checkpoint, they added.

Suspected Al-Qaeda fighters carry out frequent attacks in southern Yemen, a lawless region where jihadist groups are active.

On Tuesday, a police officer was gunned in a motorcycle drive-by shooting in Hadramawt province.

A gun battle last month in Abyan province left two suspected Al-Qaeda militants and a pro-government militiaman dead, after a failed attack on the head of a militia that backs the government.

The militias, who recruit from the area's heavily armed tribes, fought a fierce war alongside the army in mid-2012. They helped to drive Al-Qaeda militants out of the main cities of Abyan, after the extremist network had held them for a year.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has intensified its attacks on security forces in Yemen, taking advantage of the weakening of the Sanaa central government since a popular uprising that toppled president Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011.

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