(CNN) -- Six Yemeni troops were killed in an al Qaeda attack in the county's Shabwa province, according to Yemen's Defense Ministry.
After the Sunday night attack, Yemeni security forces killed three suspected al Qaeda militants, the ministry said. One was a "senior" member of al Qaeda. A car used in the incident was also seized, police director Brig. Ahmed al Maqdashi told the state-run Saba news agency.
However, Yemen Post Editor-in-Chief Hakim al-Masmari said al Qaeda sources told him only one of the suspected militants -- Zaed al Dakhari -- is confirmed to be a member of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The group says the other two were not al Qaeda members.
Yemen's southern Shabwa province is an al Qaeda stronghold.
Authorities believe al Qaeda was involved in a Thursday attack on a security patrol in the province, al Maqdashi said. Five soldiers were killed and sixth was injured.