SANAA, Yemen (AP) — A Yemeni security official said a suicide car bomb killed two soldiers Friday at a checkpoint in the country's south amid rising military cooperation with the U.S.
The official said another six soldiers were wounded in the attack, with the bomber blowing up his explosives-rigged car after he was stopped at a checkpoint at the entrance to the city of Shibam, in Hadramawt province. The official spoke on condition of anonymity following official guidelines.
Washington considers al-Qaida's Yemeni branch to be one of the world's most dangerous terrorist groups.
Two drone attacks killed six suspected militants of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, as the Yemeni branch is known, in Hadramawt earlier this month.
President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi told police cadets on Thursday that the U.S. drones have been carrying out attacks in accordance with an agreement to combat terrorism signed by the United States and former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh after the Sept. 11 attacks.
"Cooperation (with the U.S.) in the field of combating terrorism is not a secret as we take part in the operation room in Djibouti and we have officers in Bahrain's operation room with other world countries," he said.
The president said the U.S. drone attacks "have widely curtailed al-Qaida activities."
He said news about civilians killed in drone attacks were exaggerated, while referring to an air strike in 2009 in Abyan province that killed many civilians. Hadi said it was caused by a cruise missile and not a drone but did not elaborate.
Hadi said he has asked the Obama administration to help Yemen acquire drone technology to allow the country to carry out its own attacks.
He said the recent airstrikes and military operations killed at least 40 terrorists from al-Qaida, including several senior members. He said Yemeni security have also foiled car bomb attacks including ones involving two cars each laden with seven tons of explosives.