The attack in eastern Yemen's Shabwa province last month killed six soldiers near a foreign-run oil field.
Al Q'eda claims responsibility for Yemeni troops' slaying
Al Qa'eda claimed responsibility for an attack in eastern Yemen's Shabwa province last month that killed six soldiers, in a statement published on Islamist websites. "A unit (of al Qa'eda) attacked a military post in the province of Shabwa and killed six soldiers of the tyrant," President Ali Abdullah Saleh, as part of its "operations to rid the peninsula of American agents," said the statement by the group's Yemen branch, Al Qa'eda in the Arabian Peninsula. Two of its members were killed in the attack, said the group, which called the Yemeni soldiers "an instrument in the hands of the tyrant ... who terrorise Muslims, support the crusade against our country and are the first line of American defence" in Yemen. "Until they repent, Ali Abdullah Saleh, his government and his soldiers are a legitimate target for us. "We also consider all those who support (Saleh) and the crusader campaign against the Muslim nation a legitimate target." Gunmen killed the six soldiers at a security check near a foreign-run oil field in Shabwa on July 25. The attackers, in an off-road vehicle, opened fire with machine guns and rockets in Al Aqla district, 45 kilometres east of the provincial capital of Ataq. At the time Yemeni officials said three jihadists were also killed, one of them a top al Qa'eda commander. Shabwa and adjacent Abyan province have become major theatres of operation for al Qa'eda as the central government struggles to impose its control on the region's heavily armed tribes. The Sanaa government has intensified its operations against al Qa'eda, under pressure from Washington, since the network's local affiliate claimed the attempted bombing of a US-bound airliner on Christmas Day last year. * Agence France-Presse