Yemen: 5 soldiers, 2 al Qaeda militants killed


Yemeni General Ali Salah, deputy chief of staff for military operations, speaks to defence officials as he visits Yemen's restive Abyan province on March 6, 2012.



Five soldiers and two al Qaeda militants were killed in the central Yemen town of Radda on Saturday.

Officials said the soldiers died when the al Qaeda militants attacked a military checkpoint in the town just southeast of Sanaa.

Several other soldiers were wounded in the attack, and gunfight was ongoing on Saturday afternoon.

Mukalla's intelligence chief was also gunned down on Saturday in a drive-by shooting in the south. Col. Ahmed Abdel-Razaq was killed by two gunmen who attacked from their motorcycle.

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Al Qaeda loyalists seized large sections of Yemen's south and east in 2011, taking advantage of the central government's loss of control during an 11-month uprising that knocked veteran President Ali Abdullah Saleh from power in 2012.

Since then, government troops have recaptured most of the area that was lost to al Qaeda with support from US drone strikes, but jihadists still have bases in the eastern deserts.