Taliban — File Photo
militant — File Photo

ADEN: Clashes between the army and militants in southern Yemen on Saturday killed three suspected al Qaeda members and wounded two soldiers, an official said.

The militants attacked a vehicle carrying troops near the coastal town of Shaqrah, in Abyan province, before army reinforcements arrived and the soldiers killed “three extremists,” said the official on condition of anonymity.

In addition to the two wounded soldiers, a reserve forces member was hit, he added.

The army launched an all-out offensive in May, forcing al Qaeda to withdraw from towns it had captured in Abyan last year, but the network maintains a strong presence in the region.

Suspected US drone attacks in southern Yemen in the past few days have targeted al Qaeda insurgents.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula took advantage of the weakness of the central government in 2011 during protests against ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh to expand its presence in the impoverished country.

Al Qaeda loyalists have carried out a spate of deadly attacks against Yemeni security forces and their militia allies since Saleh's successor President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi came to power, pledging to crush the militants.

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