Deadly blast rocks Yemen military base

Story highlights

  • Death toll for government troops rises to 15, as three more die of their injuries
  • Militants attack a heavily guarded government military base in Abyan province
  • All nine suspected al Qaeda attackers are killed, security officials say
  • Al Qaeda in the Arabian Pensinsula has been blamed for many attacks in Yemen

At least 15 Yemeni troops were killed and more than a dozen injured when suspected al-Qaeda militants attacked a heavily guarded government military base in southern Yemen Friday, security officials said.

The attack started when militants drove a vehicle loaded with explosives into the base in Abyan province, three local security officials said. The vehicle detonated near a crowd of troops.

Read more: Security official for U.S. Embassy in Yemen killed

A gun battle then ensued between militants and troops, culminating in the deaths of all nine militant attackers, security officials said.

The death toll for government forces climbed from initial reports of 12 to 15 after three soldiers died from their injuries. Officials warned the number could still rise further.

Al Qaeda in Yemen wants Western recruits
Al Qaeda in Yemen wants Western recruits


    Al Qaeda in Yemen wants Western recruits


Al Qaeda in Yemen wants Western recruits 02:08
Inside look at Al Qaeda in Yemen
Inside look at Al Qaeda in Yemen


    Inside look at Al Qaeda in Yemen


Inside look at Al Qaeda in Yemen 04:23

The violence comes a day after eight suspected al Qaeda fighters were killed in Abyan province by a U.S. drone strike, according to senior Yemeni security officials. Among those killed was Nader al-Shadadi, a senior leader within Al Qaeda in the Arabian Pensinsula, which has been blamed for numerous attacks in Yemen.

Read more about al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula on the CNN Security Clearance blog

Al Qaeda gained in strength in the country last year after taking control of several towns in south Yemen. The militant group benefited from political unrest that led to Yemen's long-time ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh stepping down from power in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

Upon coming to power in February, President Abdu Rabo Mansour Hadi vowed to fight al Qaeda and refused to halt attacks against its members until they laid down arms and surrendered.

This, however, has not completely weakened al Qaeda, which continues to target government forces in deadly attacks that have killed hundreds of troops and pro-government tribal fighters since May.

It has resorted to suicide attacks and car bombs after losing control of a number of towns in south Yemen, including Shaqra.

Read more: Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's second-in-command killed

      CNN Recommends

    • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

      North Korea nuclear dream video

      As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
    • Photos: Faces of the world

      Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
    • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

      How to fix a soccer match

      Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
    • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

      15 biggest souvenir-buying no-no's

      It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.