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23 dead after al Qaeda attacks in southern Yemen

By CNN Staff
updated 6:31 PM EDT, Sat May 24, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Eyewitnesses: More than 100 fighters attacked nine governmental institutions
  • Defense Ministry: At least 12 government soldiers and 11 attackers were killed
  • One witness says they burned down "all the government institutions they controlled"

(CNN) -- At least 12 government troops and 11 attackers were killed after al Qaeda fighters riding in more than 20 trucks raided government institutions in the southern province of Hadramout Friday night.

The Defense Ministry confirmed the fatalities to government troops, adding that 11 more were injured in the attacks, and four of them were in critical condition.

Eyewitnesses in Seyoon district told CNN that more than 100 al Qaeda fighters attacked nine different governmental institutions, including the national security and police headquarters, and two strategic military bases.

"The militants waited until nightfall and burned down all the government institutions they controlled," said Ali Ba Obaid, an eyewitnesses.

He said that government reinforcements arrived two hours after the militants had taken control of the institutions.

"Hundreds of government forces led by the air force and special forces forced the terror militants to evacuate" early Saturday morning, "but they left after destroying everything," he said.

"The latest al Qaeda defeat in Seyoon is strong proof that their ability to control areas in Yemen are very limited," the official told CNN on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to media.

He said that two of the terrorists killed in the clashes were Saudi.

The attacks came a little more than a month after Yemen launched a military offensive against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula amid an uptick in violence in the capital.

Four civilians killed as Yemen battles al Qaeda

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