“Al-Qaeda” attacks in
Yemen leave 15 dead

ADEN - Eleven suspected Al-Qaeda militants and four Yemeni soldiers were killed Thursday in attacks on two army posts in the southeastern province of Hadramawt, military and local officials said.


The latest bloodshed came a day after clashes in which 18 militants and seven soldiers died in southern and southeast Yemen. An earlier toll had said 10 soldiers were killed on Wednesday. 


Gunmen attacked the military headquarters in the city of Sayun, a stronghold of jihadists, a military official said, leaving seven dead among the assailants along with one soldier.


The army had reinforced its positions in Sayun ahead of an anticipated operation against militants in the city.


In another attack on Thursday, militants targeted a military barracks in Qatan, 40 kilometers west of Sayun, another military official said.


"The assailants failed to penetrate the barracks but three soldiers were killed and four wounded," he said, in a toll confirmed at the town's hospital.


A local official said four militants were also killed.


The attack was followed by air strikes on Al-Qaeda positions near Qatan, witnesses said, although there was no immediate casualty toll for the raid.


On Wednesday, seven soldiers were killed when gunmen ambushed forces heading towards Sayun, a military official said, while the Defense Ministry said 18 militants also died.


Security services blame the attacks on Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has been branded by Washington as the extremist network's deadliest franchise.


In late April, the army launched a ground offensive against AQAP in Shabwa and nearby Abyan provinces.


The group 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.