ADEN (Reuters) - Three Yemeni security personnel were killed on Sunday in a roadside bomb attack apparently targeting a senior official in the southeastern city of al-Mukalla, officials said.

Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda have stepped up a campaign of attacks against security forces and government facilities since a U.S.-backed offensive drove them out of their strongholds in southern Yemen earlier this year.

The Defence Ministry said the attack was aimed at Colonel Abdulwahhab al-Wali, commander of the paramilitary Central Security forces in Hadramout province, who survived.

Two of Wali's guards were killed and four others were wounded, it said. A local official out the death toll at three, with five people wounded.

The two blasts targetted a pair of vehicles travelling on a road in the provincial capital.

"The explosions took place at the same time and appeared to be remotely-controlled," the official told Reuters.

Witnesses said security forces rounded up more than 10 suspects after the attack, mostly university students.

Yemen is plagued by poverty and lawlessness, with Islamist militant attacks targeting government facilities and officials as part of a campaign against the state. Last week, the defence minister survived a car bombing that killed 12 people.

(Reporting by Dhuyazen Mukhashaf; Writing by Mahmoud Habboush; Editing by Angus MacSwan)




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