SANAA, Yemen (AP) - A Yemeni military official says gunmen believed to be from al-Qaida have killed five soldiers at a checkpoint in a southern province.
The official said the attackers surprised the soldiers early Sunday at their checkpoint guarding oil and gas projects in the Radhum area of Shabwa province.
The ambush follows a two-week-long spike in suspected U.S. drone strikes targeting al-Qaida. Yemeni officials say nine attacks have killed 38 alleged militants.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity according to regulations.
The U.S. considers the local al-Qaida branch, also known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, to be the world's most active. Washington last week flew diplomatic staff out of Yemen's capital over fears of a terrorist attack.