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8 troops killed in attack in south Yemen

By Hakim Almasmari, For CNN
Yemeni troops conduct anti-terrorism drills in the southern coastal province of Abyan on July 11, 2011.
Yemeni troops conduct anti-terrorism drills in the southern coastal province of Abyan on July 11, 2011.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Eight government troops killed, at least 28 soldiers injured in Abyan province
  • Al Qaeda suspected of trying to seize military base for past two weeks
  • In separate incident, six suspected al Qaeda fighters killed in government air raid

(CNN) -- Eight government troops were killed and at least 28 soldiers were injured in Abyan province when suspected al Qaeda militants attacked the governmental military base for Brigade 211 in Dofas district, a security official in the district confirmed.

The militants escaped unharmed after the attack, which took place at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, the official said.

"The militants attacked us at a time we were not prepared. That is the reason why the death and injury toll of the troops is high," the official said.

Two tribal fighters in the district said the militants have been attacking the base for the past two weeks in attempts to seize it. They said at least six attacks have taken place near the base.

In a different incident, pro-government tribal fighters said that six suspected al Qaeda fighters were killed in a government air raid in Arqoob district of Abyan province, eyewitnesses said.

Eyewitnesses said the bodies of the six militants were still lying on the streets of Arqoob four hours after the attack.

The government has attacked the district hourly since the militants seized it on Sunday.

Pro-government forces have been trying to retake the district since militants entered it, tribal fighters said.

The fighters told CNN that they succeeded in uprooting at least nine road bombs that the militants had planted in the district of Arqoob by suspected al Qaeda militants.

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