ADEN (Reuters) - Two Yemeni soldiers and four suspected militants were killed when soldiers raided a house used by insurgents in the restive eastern province of Hadramout, a local security official said on Sunday.
Hadramout has seen an increased level of activity by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which was driven out of the southern provinces of Shabwa and Abyan earlier this year by a combined U.S. drone and Yemeni army onslaught.
The September 26 Defence Ministry website quoted a military source as saying the raid took place in the town of al-Qatan after midnight. It said one soldier had been killed and five were wounded. The statement also added that four militants were killed and five “terrorist elements” were arrested.
On Saturday a local official said a drone attack had killed three suspected al Qaeda militants in Hadramout. And on Thursday three Yemeni soldiers and two al Qaeda militants were killed when security forces foiled an attack involving multiple car bombs there.
Earlier this month the Yemeni army sent extra troops to the Wadi Hadramout region in northeastern Yemen to counter attempts by AQAP’s local affiliate Ansar al Sharia to declare an Islamic emirate in the city of Seiyoun.
AQAP exploited a power vacuum created by the 2011 popular uprising that eventually ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh after 33 years of rule to carve out areas of dominance in south and east Yemen. Since then AQAP has repeatedly attacked state institutions, including army camps and state buildings across the country, killing hundreds of people.
An impoverished country of 25 million that shares a long border with the world’s top oil exporter Saudi Arabia, the United States and its allies in the region are worried that further instability in Yemen could allow AQAP to consolidate its position and launch attacks overseas.
Writing by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Sami Aboudi and Greg Mahlich