Al-Qaeda wing claims responsibility for southern Yemen attacks
Al-Qaeda's arm in Yemen on Saturday claimed responsibility for two attacks on police and military personnel carried out in the south-eastern Yemeni province of Shabwa last month, in which at least 11 soldiers were killed, dpa reported.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) made the claim in two statements posted on Jihadi websites on Saturday.
It said in one statement that it was behind the July 22 attack on a police patrol vehicle in Ataq, the provincial capital of Shabwa, which left five policemen dead.
The group claimed that an officer and five policemen were killed in the attack.
Shabwa is located 570 kilometres south-east of the capital Sana'a. It is one of five desert provinces where authorities believe al-Qaeda has bases and enjoys support from local tribes.
In a separate statement, the group said its members also carried out the July 25 attack on a military checkpoint in the al-Oqlah district of Shabwa that killed six soldiers.
It said two of its members were killed in clashes with the soldiers manning the checkpoint.
A police official had said at the time that three of the assailants were killed.
Brigadier General Ahmed al-Maqdashi, the police commander of Shabwa, had also said that senior al-Qaeda operative Zaiyd al-Daghari was among the slain attackers.
AQAP said in its statement that it targeted the soldiers because they "support (Yemeni President) Ali Saleh, his government and the crusader campaign."
It said the government soldiers "are a legitimate target for us because they are backing the crusade against our country and they are the first defence line for the Americans."
The two attacks were among five assaults that have targeted security agencies and personnel in the south of the Arab country in June and July. Al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for all five.
They included two coordinated raids on security agencies in Zinjebar, the capital of Abyan province, on July 14. Police said two officers and two assailants were killed in those incidents.
A similar attack on the headquarters of the intelligence services in the southern port city of Aden left 11 dead on June 19.