ADEN, Yemen, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- At least five Yemeni soldiers were killed and four others injured after al-Qaida militants stormed a military checkpoint in the turbulent southern province of Abyan overnight, a local official said Wednesday.
Dozens of militants launched an armed attack from different directions and targeted a key checkpoint in the coastal area of Ahwar Tuesday night, triggering a fierce gunfight at the scene, an official said on condition of anonymity.
The gunfight with al-Qaida attackers caused five soldiers killed and four others injured, he said, adding that the targeted checkpoint belongs to the Yemeni troops backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
A security source confirmed to Xinhua saying that some of the attackers were either killed or injured, but their number couldn't be exactly specified as the terrorist group evacuated its casualties during the fighting.
Some social media accounts affiliated to the Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) claimed that the attackers seized an amount of weapons, ammunition and military vehicles after the overnight attack against the UAE-backed Yemeni troops.
The province of Abyan, former main stronghold of AQAP, has been the scene of sporadic attacks or heavy clashes between UAE-backed security forces and al-Qaida militants from time to time.
In recent weeks, AQAP carried out several armed attacks against UAE-backed Yemeni security forces 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.