Suspected al-Qaeda gunmen shot dead Monday four Yemeni soldiers in an ambush in southeastern Hadramawt province, a stronghold of the jihadists, a security official said.
The assailants opened fire at an army vehicle on the main road of the town of Qatan, killing the four soldiers on board, the official said.
He said the gunmen belonged to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, considered by Washington as the most dangerous affiliate of the jihadist network, AFP reported.
AQAP 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.
In late April, the army launched a ground offensive against AQAP in the southern provinces of Shabwa and Abyan.