At least four al-Qaida militants were killed and five others captured during an army operation against a terrorist hideout in Yemen's southeastern province of Hadramout early on Sunday, the Defense Ministry said, Xinhua reported.
"Forces of the 1st Regional Military Command launched a successful army operation and stormed a terrorist cell inside a house in Qattan region of Hadramout province," the Defense Ministry said in a short text message obtained by Xinhua.
Meanwhile, a military official in Hadramout said the army troops clashed with al-Qaida militants in the area, leaving some five soldiers injured.
"Scores of the al-Qaida militants carried out a pre-dawn attack on an army outpost in the Qattan region. Huge explosions were heard in the region," a local resident told Xinhua over the phone.
During the past few days, the Yemeni army forces stepped up their presence and deployed heavy armored vehicles and tanks to counter a sharp rise in al-Qaida assaults in several regions of Hadramout province.
Since April, the Yemeni government has waged a major offensive on al-Qaida strongholds in the country's southern territories, killing scores of militants. The al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) based in Yemen has vowed to hit back.
AQAP, also known locally as Ansar al-Sharia, emerged in January 2009 and is considered one of the greatest threats to the Yemeni government and neighboring oil-rich Saudi Arabia.