Gunmen in Yemen killed 20 soldiers Monday at a checkpoint in Hadramawt province, the official Saba news agency said of the latest in a wave of attacks blamed on al-Qaeda.
“Twenty soldiers were killed in the armed attack on an army checkpoint” near Reida, 135 kilometers (85 miles) east of the provincial capital Mukalla in the south, Saba said. Most of the soldiers at the checkpoint were asleep when the raid happened, a local official told Reuters. No one has claimed responsibility.
It was not immediately clear how many soldiers were guarding the checkpoint at the time or if any had survived.
The last major attack by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) was in February at the central prison in the capital Sanaa when gunmen killed 11 people, including seven guards.
One source told AFP the assault was carried out by gunmen aboard several vehicles.
“The attackers would appear to be in al-Qaeda,” a military source said of AQAP, which the United States views as the jihadist network’s most dangerous franchise.
Yemen has seen regular attacks on its security forces, usually blamed on AQAP which remains active in the south and east despite several military campaigns to crush it.
On March 18, a suspected al-Qaeda suicide car bombing at a military intelligence headquarters killed one person and wounded 13.
The attacker detonated the car outside the gate to the security building in Tuban, 15 kilometers north of Aden, killing a guard.
That attack came two days after three suspected al-Qaeda militants, one a Saudi, were killed in the southern province of Shabwa when a car bomb they were preparing apparently detonated accidentally.
Two other alleged members of the extremist network were “seriously wounded” and a nearby house was “partially destroyed,” a tribal source told AFP at the time.