At least six Yemeni soldiers were killed on Monday when suicide bombers tried to ram vehicles laden with explosives through two military checkpoints near the government-held port city of Mukalla, the Yemeni army said.
No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks near the capital of eastern Hadramout province on the Gulf of Aden, the latest in a series of bombings since forces loyal to Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, backed by UAE troops, drove out al Qaeda militants from there in April.
The Yemeni army’s Second Military Command, which is based in Mukalla, said militants tried to ram the al-Burum area southwest of Mukalla using a booby-trapped bus, while a booby-trapped car attacked the al-Ghaber district to the west.
“Forces at the checkpoints were able to confront the vehicles and forced them not to cross the security barriers,” an army statement said.
It said six soldiers were killed in the attacks and 18 were wounded. Medics had earlier said that at least five soldiers among 15 taken to hospitals were in serious condition.
Islamist militants from al Qaeda and its rival Islamic State have been building up their presence in the impoverished country, taking advantage of the chaos around Yemen’s civil war that began in 2014.
Al Qaeda’s Yemen branch had built up a mini-state centered on Mukalla. It has planned several foiled bombing attempts on Western-bound airlines and claimed credit for the 2015 attack at the Charlie Hebdo magazine’s offices in Paris.