'Qaeda' gunmen kill 5 Yemen soldiers, says official

Suspected Al-Qaeda militants killed five Yemeni soldiers in an attack Saturday on a checkpoint southeast of Sanaa, an official said, while two assailants were reportedly killed.

The attack targeted an army checkpoint in the district of Rada, where the interior ministry said late Friday it mounted security measures following intelligence about possible attacks by Al-Qaeda militants.

Five soldiers were killed and several others were wounded in the attack, the local government official told AFP.

A gunfight was still ongoing on Saturday afternoon, and some gunmen were also killed, he added.

The Sep.net news website, which is linked to the Yemeni defence ministry, said two gunmen perished in the exchange of gunfire.

Al-Qaeda loyalists seized large swathes of the south and east in 2011, taking advantage of a decline in central government control during an 11-month uprising that forced veteran president Ali Abdullah Saleh from power in 2012.

Government troops have since recaptured much of the territory with support from US drone strikes but the jihadists retain bases in the desert east.