ADEN, Yemen, March 27 (Xinhua) -- Suspected al-Qaida gunmen wearing military uniforms launched an armed attack against the local government building in the southern province of Lahj on Monday, killing 10 soldiers and injuring several others, a security official told Xinhua.
"A suicide bomber slammed his explosive-laden car into the the local government headquarters' main entrance and then suspected al-Qaida attackers tried to storm the building by hurling grenades at the guards," said the local security source on condition of anonymity.
The security source based in Lahj said the attackers disguised themselves as army soldiers and attacked the local authority building from various directions, triggering an hour-long gun battle in the area.
Civilians were injured during the armed confrontations which occurred in and around the local government building in Lahj's provincial capital of Houta city, according to witnesses.
Lahj's governor spokesman confirmed the armed attack in a text message to Xinhua, saying that "the terrorist attack was successfully foiled and the newly-trained security forces are now tracking the assailants."
Other sources said that "the attackers most likely were planning to target the Governor of Lahj Dr. Nasser Khobagi but he wasn't inside the building at the time of the attack."
The al-Qaida militant group which lost several of its commanders in recent American airstrikes has yet to comment about the attack on Lahj's local government headquarters.
Yemen, an impoverished Arab country, has been gripped by one of the most active regional Al-Qaida insurgencies in the Middle East.
The Yemen-based Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) group, also known locally as "Ansar al-Sharia," emerged in January 2009, claimed responsibility for a number of terrorist attacks against Yemen's army and governmental institutions.
The AQAP and the Islamic State-linked terrorists took advantage of the security vacuum and ongoing civil war and expanded their influence by seizing more territories in southern Yemen.
Security in Yemen has deteriorated since March 2015, when war broke out between the Shiite Houthi group, supported by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and government forces backed by a Saudi-led Arab coalition.
Over 10,000 people have been killed in ground battles and airstrikes since then, many of them civilians.