ADEN, Yemen, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- Three policemen were killed and five others wounded in an attack by al-Qaida militants on a checkpoint in Yemen's southeastern province of Hadramout on Monday, a senior local police officer told Xinhua.
"A group of al-Qaida assailants attacked a security checkpoint of the 135th Armored Brigade in the Hadramout's historic city of Shibam. As a result, three policemen were killed and five others injured," the officer said on condition of anonymity.
The al-Qaida attackers also exchanged heavy gunfire with the security personnel in the area for about one hour, the source said.
The al-Qaida militants failed in their attempt to seize heavy weapons from the security personnel stationed in Shibam city and fled the area with some injuries.
Elsewhere in Yemen, a high-ranking official of Yemen's Interior Ministry survived an assassination attempt in which unknown gunmen opened fire at his motorcade in Aden province on Monday morning.
Al-Qaida militants have intensified their drive-by attacks on security checkpoints in the Yemeni southern provinces as government forces backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have increased military operations against the group's hideouts in the war-plagued Arab country.
Yemeni government forces and the UAE armed forces operating in the southern province of Aden have launched a new anti-terror military offensive to root out al-Qaida militants from their strongholds in neighboring southern province of Abyan.
Thousands of newly-recruited Yemeni soldiers joined the operation after receiving military training and financial support from the UAE forces.
The Yemen-based al-Qaida branch, seen by the United States as the most dangerous terror group, has exploited years of deadly conflict between Yemen's government and Houthi rebels to expand its presence, especially in Shabwa and Abyan provinces.
Yemen's government, allied with a Saudi-led Arab military coalition, has for years been battling Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels for control of the impoverished country.
UN statistics showed that more than 8,000 people have been killed in Yemen's conflict, most of them civilians, since the Saudi-led coalition entered the conflict in 2015.
The impoverished Arab country is also suffering from the world's largest cholera outbreak, as about 5,000 cases are reported every day.