A suicide car bomber killed three Yemeni soldiers in an attack on an army post at the gates of the southern city of Aden on Saturday, a military official told AFP.
The bomber died and seven soldiers were wounded in the attack targeting a checkpoint at Al-Aalam in northeastern Aden, southern Yemen's main city where Al-Qaeda has a strong presence, the official and a medical source said.
The attack came as the army had said it made progress in the past few days in battles with Qaeda-linked fighters who, since the end of May, have been controlling the city of Zinjibar, east of Aden.
A military official said on Thursday that army units advanced towards Zinjibar from two fronts and linked up with soldiers of the 25th mechanised brigade who had been besieged in a stadium east of the city.
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Gunmen claiming to be from the group Partisans of Sharia (Islamic law), a Qaeda-linked organisation, captured Zinjibar on May 29 and besieged the base of the 25th mechanised brigade at Al-Wahda stadium.
They also managed to take temporary control of other villages in the restive southern province of Abyan, of which Zinjibar is the capital.
Meanwhile three soldiers and 12 Islamist militants were also killed Saturday in battles in a suburb of Zinjibar, a military source and a medical official told AFP.
"The army lost three soldiers during confrontations with armed men as our units were advancing towards Zinjibar," the military source said.
A medical official at Al-Razi hospital in the nearby town of Jaar said his establishment received the bodies of 12 Islamist fighters and that four others were treated for injuries.
The lawless southern and eastern provinces of Yemen have provided safe havens for Al-Qaeda militants to regroup, especially over the past seven months of mass protests across the country against President Ali Abdullah Saleh.