SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Al-Qaida militants attacked a military camp Thursday in central Yemen, sparking heavy clashes that killed at least eight soldiers, security officials said.
The officials said militants tried to storm the camp on the outskirts of the city of Radda, 160 kilometers (100 mile) south of the capital, Sanaa.
They said the attack wounded 10 soldiers, and the attackers made away with a military armored vehicle. The military sent reinforcements and helicopters hovered overhead as the battle raged.
Maj. Gen. Ali Mohsen, the commander in the region, later said the troops managed to ward off the attack and reclaim the armored vehicle. However, he said, only two soldiers were killed. It was not immediately possible to reconcile the different death toll.
Yemen's al-Qaida branch is considered to be the world's most dangerous by the U.S., which launches drone strikes in Yemen targeting suspected militants.
The officials said at the same time in a different area of Radda, a guard opened fire on a suspicious man outside a courthouse. The gunshots set off explosives carried by the would-be suicide bomber, killing him before he could launch an attack, the officials said.
Meanwhile Thursday, Col. Mohamed Ali al-Qadimi, an intelligence chief who had escaped an earlier attempt to kill him, was shot dead by militants on his way to his house in Aden province.
In separate incident, two civilians were killed in the southern province of Dali when they failed to stop at a security checkpoint, prompting the guards to open fire, security officials said.
All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to journalists.