SAN'A // Al Qa'eda militants ambushed a Yemeni army patrol, killing six soldiers in the second attack on local security forces in the restive southern province of Shabwa this week, a security official said. The patrol was attacked in the town of Aqla in Shabwa with rocket-propelled grenades and sprayed with bullets late last night, the official said. Many foreign oil companies are located in the same area.
On Thursday a similar ambush killed five soldiers in the same province. Shabwa is believed to be a hideout for al Qa'eda militants including the US-born radical cleric Anwar al Awlaki, who was allegedly part of a failed terrorist attack on an airline flying to Detroit on Christmas Day last year. The United States has earmarked some US$150 million to help the government in San'a combat al Qa'eda's Yemeni offshoot with training, equipment and intelligence help.