11 gunmen killed in clashes with Yemeni army
ADEN, Yemen, July 27 (Xinhua) -- The Yemeni armed forces managed on Sunday to foil two simultaneous attacks by suspected al- Qaida militants on army bases in the troubled southern province of Abyan, leaving at least 11 terrorists and two soldiers killed, a government official told Xinhua.
"The suspected al-Qaida attackers launched two botched suicide car bombings on army posts in Abyan's town of Mahfad, sparking intense clashes that left two soldiers and 11 terrorists killed on the spot," the local government official said on condition of anonymity.
"Two explosives-laden cars failed to reach the main targets and exploded outside the army posts," he said, adding that "the army soldiers have managed to repulse dozens of al-Qaida attackers after the explosion."
According to the Yemeni source that scores of the al-Qaida fighters engaged in the well-planned assault that took place at around 7:30 a.m. local time and targeted army posts in Mahfad town, former stronghold of the terrorist group in Abyan province.
"We believe the master minders of this simultaneous attacks were aiming to take control over the army posts in Mahfad, but they failed and were repulsed by soldiers manning it," a military official in Abyan told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The Yemeni government has waged a wide-scale assault on al- Qaida strongholds since April in the country's southern territories, killing scores of militants. However, leaders of the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) based in Yemen have vowed to hit back.
Numerous hideouts for the manufacture of explosives, including car bombs and suicide vests, have been discovered, while vehicles, ammunition and weapons suspected of belonging to AQAP members have been seized or destroyed.
Territories in Azzan and Mahfad, two of AQAP's main strongholds, have also been recaptured by the army troops during the massive attack.
The AQAP, known locally as Ansar al-Sharia, emerged in January 2009. It is considered the most strategic threat to the Yemeni government and neighboring oil-rich Saudi Arabia.