Three Qaeda suspects die in clash with Yemen troops

A vehicle drives on a main road in the southern Yemeni province of Hadramawt on on May 9, 2011 (AFP Photo/) (AFP/File)

Aden (AFP) - Three Al-Qaeda suspects were killed in a clash with troops Wednesday in the southeastern Hadramawt province, the scene of frequent attacks on the army, a military official told AFP.

The suspects attacked troops setting up a checkpoint and camp on the outskirts of the historic city of Shibam, sparking a clash that left "three Al-Qaeda militants killed and two others wounded," the official said.

Three soldiers were also hurt and the remaining extremists fled, he added.

On August 23, Al-Qaeda suspects planted a bomb on a road linking the towns of Seiyun and Shibam killing three soldiers when it exploded as an army vehicle passed.

Earlier this month, six Al-Qaeda suspects and three soldiers were killed in clashes in the restive province where the army has boosted its deployment.

Yemeni authorities blame Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, branded by Washington as the extremist network's deadliest franchise, for most attacks on members of the security forces.

The group has on its part claimed several attacks on troops in Yemen.

In late April, the army launched a ground offensive against AQAP in Shabwa and nearby Abyan provinces, both in the south.

The group is active across several parts of Yemen, having exploited the collapse of central authority during a 2011 uprising that ousted veteran president Ali Abdullah Saleh.