Qaida Suicide Bomber Kills Five Yemen Soldiers

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An al-Qaida suicide bomber killed five Yemeni soldiers and wounded 20 others in an attack on an army position in the country's south on Tuesday, military officials and medics said.

The assailant used an explosives-rigged car to target the troops loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi who had recently set up the position in the town of Loder in Abyan province to fight the jihadists, the military officials said.

Earlier reports put the number of dead at three, with nine wounded, but hospital officials revised the toll upwards.

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), seen by the United States as the global terror network's most dangerous branch, has exploited years of conflict between the government and Iran-backed Huthi rebels to expand its presence in Yemen.

An AQAP statement published by the SITE Intelligence Group named the suicide bomber as Abu Salih, and said al-Qaida members had mortared the same position two days previously.

The AQAP statement did not give an estimate of casualties in the attack.

Al-Qaida's jihadist rival, the Islamic State group, has also strengthened its control of parts of the impoverished country on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula.

Yemeni special forces, trained by the United Arab Emirates and backed by the United States, on Wednesday launched a major operation against the al-Qaida fighters, driving them out of the oil-rich Shabwa province.

The jihadists are thought to have moved further south into neighboring Abyan province.

More than 8,000 people have been killed in Yemen since a Saudi-led coalition intervened in 2015 to support the government against the Huthi Shiite rebels, who had seized the capital and swathes of the country's north.