3 soldiers killed in al-Qaida attack on Yemen's Shabwa governor
At least three security soldiers were killed and five others wounded on Wednesday when a group of al-Qaida gunmen attacked the convoy of the Shabwa governor and other top officials in south Yemen, a provincial security official told Xinhua.
The official said the al-Qaida's attack took place in Yashbam valley, close to al-Hota town where a combined security and arm forces were still fighting fighters of the resurgent al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in the country's southeast province of Shabwa.
"Shabwa Governor Ali Hassan al-Ahmadi and Deputy Chief of General Staff, Brigadier General Salim al-Qetin, and other top officials survived al-Qaida's attack," the official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
"Three security soldiers were killed and another five soldiers wounded when they along with other soldiers accompanying the governor's convoy engaged in fierce clashes with al-Qaida assailants to protect the officials," he said.
The Yemeni Defense Ministry said later that the Shabwa governor and other top security and army officials survived on Wednesday a deadly attack by al-Qaida gunmen who managed to kill one soldier and wound other security escorts in an ambush in southeast Yemen.
"One soldier was killed and nine other security bodyguards injured in a deadly ambush by al-Qaida militants in Yashbam valley in the province of Shabwa during Wednesday's sunset," the ministry said in a statement on its website, citing Shabwa's security director Ahmad al-Makdashi.
"The security head of al-Saieed district was among the injured, " al- Makdashi said.
The militants with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade ( RPG) launched attack from their hideouts in some houses in Yashbam area when the official's convoy en-route from the house of Brigadier General Salim al-Qetin to Ataq, the provincial capital city of Shabwa, he added.
"Security forces were dispatched to the scene and set besiege to the area to arrest the terrorist elements and bring them to justice," he said.
Shabwa has apparently become a stronghold of AQAP, which has witnessed a series of deadly battles between al-Qaida fighters and the security forces over the past month.
Last week, Yemen's Defense Ministry said in a statement that the combined forces of security and army units cleansed Hota town in Shabwa of the entrenched al-Qaida militants and forced the rest to flee to surrounding mountains.
According to intelligence reports, as many as 200 al-Qaida militants had arrived in the town from the northeastern province of Marib and the southern province of Abyan, bringing the total number of al-Qaida fighters there to about 300, he said.
The Yemeni government has intensified security operations and air raids against terrorist groups after the Yemen-based al-Qaida wing claimed credit for an attempt to blow up a U.S.-bound passenger plane last December.