ADEN, Yemen, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- Gunmen suspected of belonging to the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch attacked a military base of newly-recruited Yemeni troops in the southern port city of Abyan on Friday, a security official told Xinhua.
The security source, who pleaded to be anonymous, said that a group of gunmen, carrying sophisticated weapons, tried to storm a Yemeni military base backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Mahfad area of Abyan province.
He said that rocket-propelled grenades were used in the pre-dawn attack, causing an unknown number of casualties.
The Yemeni soldiers positioned around the military base confronted and repulsed the armed attack following one hour of fire exchanging, according to the source.
Yemeni army units backed by the UAE launched several anti-terror operations against strongholds of the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in Abyan and other surrounding areas.
AQAP carries out sporadic attacks against UAE-backed Yemeni soldiers that established a number of military bases in Abyan to combat al-Qaida.
The AQAP network mostly operating in eastern and southern provinces, has been responsible for many high-profile attacks against security forces in the country.
The U.S. military has carried out several airstrikes against AQAP fighters in different provinces of the war-torn Arab country since U.S President Donald Trump approved expanded military operations against the group.
That included intensified overnight airstrikes and ground military raids against the al-Qaida hideouts in the mountainous areas of al-Bayda and southeastern province of Shabwa.
The Yemen-based al-Qaida branch, seen by the United States as the global terror network's most dangerous branch, has exploited years of deadly conflict between Yemen's government and Houthi rebels to expand its presence, especially in southeastern provinces.