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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

Five Yemeni troops killed in suspected Qaeda attack

The gunmen managed to escape after the attack on the checkpoint in the north-east of Shabwa province, a southern stronghold of Yemen's powerful Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, according to sources

Five Yemeni soldiers were killed and three wounded on Sunday when gunmen suspected of ties to Al Qaeda opened fire on a military checkpoint, an army source said.

The source said the gunmen managed to escape after the attack on the checkpoint in the north-east of Shabwa province, a southern stronghold of Yemen's powerful Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Sunday's attack is the latest in a string of suspected AQAP shootings targeting military checkpoints and outposts in Yemen.

AQAP, seen by the United States as the global terror network's most dangerous branch, has exploited years of deadly conflict between Yemen's government and Houthi rebels to expand its presence, especially in Shabwa.

A US air raid on the province last month killed AQAP emir Abu Khattab Al Awlaqi, according to the Pentagon.

The United States has intensified its air attacks on suspected AQAP sites in Yemen since Donald Trump took office in January.

Yemen has been divided by civil war since the Iran-allied Houthi rebels seized power in the capital Sanaa in 2014. The Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia entered the conflict in March 2015 to reinstate the internationally-recognised president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi after he fled Sanaa from the Houthis, who are fighting in an alliance with troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 8,000 people have been killed in Yemen's conflict, most of them civilians, since 2015.

The country has also been hit by a deadly cholera outbreak and is on the edge of famine.

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