Yemen: Al Qaeda attacks camp kills 20, gvt forces pursue 8 killed

Yemeni officials and tribal leaders said security forces were pursuing al-Qaida militants Saturday in the southern Abyan province, leaving at least seven extremists and one soldier dead.

The fighting came a day after al-Qaida attacked and overran a military camp in the same province, killing at least 20 soldiers.

The troops chasing the militants through the mountainous areas of al-Mahfad district are part of a force trained by the United Arab Emirates, a member of the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthi rebels since 2015.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not allowed to talk to reporters. The tribal leaders asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.

In a statement, the security forces confirmed the soldier’s death and that the military camp was retaken Friday.

Al Qaida militants had targeted a military camp in Yemen’s southern Abyan province, killing at least 20 troops and setting off hours-long clashes that lasted into early morning Friday.

The attack began around midnight, with militants firing rocket propelled grenades at the camp belonging to members of a Yemeni force.

The militants then overran the camp, seizing and confiscating equipment and weapons, before setting it on fire, according to the tribal leaders. There was no immediate claim of responsibility by Al Qaida but the officials said the attack bore all the hallmarks of the militant group.

The attack came a day after the main southern city of Aden was shaken by double attacks. Al Houthi militia fired a missile at a military parade of the same militia, known as the Security Belt, while suicide bombers blasted a police station in another of the city’s neighbourhoods.

At least 51 people were killed in the double attacks – the deadliest day in Aden in nearly two years. The city has been the seat of Yemen’s internationally recognised government, which is at war with Al Houthis.