Aden, April 25 (IANS) At least eight soldiers loyal to Yemen’s government were killed and 15 others injured when a car bombing struck a military convoy in the southern province of Abyan on Sunday, a military official said.
The army soldiers backed by armoured vehicles were struck by a booby-trapped car while they were advancing against Al-Qaeda stronghold in Zinjibar city, Abyan’s provincial capital, the local military official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Initial reports said that at least eight newly trained army soldiers were killed and 15 others injured during the blast claimed by Al-Qaeda, the military source said.
The Al-Qaeda militants are using booby-trapped cars and roadside bombs as a new strategy to prevent the army forces from advancing in Abyan, according to local army officers.
On Saturday, hundreds of Yemeni security forces newly trained by the Saudi-led Arab coalition launched an anti-terror offensive to flush out Al-Qaeda militants from the southern province of Abyan.
The troops and allied pro-government tribal militias, known as Southern Resistance, supported by UAE armoured vehicles advanced into the Al-Qaeda-held city of Zinjibar after intense clashes with Al-Qaeda militants there leaving 26 terrorists killed.
Last December, gunmen of the Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) took full control over two strategic towns in the southern Abyan province, about 45 km from Aden, where Yemen’s internationally recognized government has temporarily based itself.
Yemen, an impoverished Arab country, has been gripped by one of the most active regional Al-Qaeda insurgencies in the Middle East.
The AQAP, also known locally as Ansar al-Sharia, emerged in January 2009. It had claimed responsibility for a number of attacks on Yemen’s army and government institutions.
It took advantage of the current security vacuum and the ongoing civil war to expand its influence in Yemen’s southern regions.