SAN’A, Yemen (AP) — Al-Qaida militants ambushed a Yemeni army patrol killing six soldiers in the second major attack on local security forces in a restive southern province this week, a security official.
Al-Qaida militants attacked the patrol in the southern town of Aqla in Shabwa province with rocket propelled grenades and sprayed it with bullets late on Sunday, the official said.
Many foreign oil companies are located in the same area.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
On Thursday a similar ambush killed five soldiers in the same province.
Shabwa is believed to be a hideout for al-Qaida militants including the U.S.-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who was part of a failed terrorist Christmas Day attack on an airline.
U.S officials worry al-Qaida’s offshoot in Yemen has found refuge in the country’s remote, lawless areas and could be plotting attacks against American and other Western targets.
The United States has earmarked some $150 million to help the government in San’a combat al-Qaida’s Yemeni offshoot with training, equipment and intelligence help.