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Qaeda kills 13 soldiers in Yemen

world Updated: May 31, 2011 20:33 IST

11 Yemeni soldiers were killed in two attacks by alleged al-Qaeda fighters on Tuesday, and another two soldiers died of wounds sustained previously, security officials and medics said.

Six soldiers were killed and eight wounded in the first attack, which was on the Dofas military checkpoint about a kilometre from Abyan province's capital Zinjibar, a security official and a medic said.

Witnesses said the militants also set fire to 10 military vehicles.

Later in the day, a car bomb blasted a security force convoy carrying reinforcements to Zinjibar, where troops are battling alleged al-Qaeda militants, a second security official said. Medics said that attack killed five soldiers and wounded 23 others.

The explosion targeted the passing convoy, which was carrying reinforcements from Aden, near Dofas -- the same checkpoint that was attacked earlier in the day, the official said.

A source close to the attackers said that "two suicide bombers were in the car when it exploded," adding that the attack resulted in dead and wounded among the soldiers. Another medic at a military hospital in Aden said that two soldiers from the 25th mechanised brigade had died of wounds sustained in fighting with militants in Zinjibar itself.

The military hospital had on Monday received 40 soldiers wounded in fighting in the city, some of whom were in a serious condition, the medic added.

A security official said on Sunday that suspected al-Qaeda gunmen had taken control of most of Zinjibar.

At least 41 soldiers and civilians have been killed in fighting in or near the city since Friday, according to an AFP tally based on security officials and medics.

Before today's attack, the defence ministry said 21 soldiers, including a number of officers, had been killed in the fighting.