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Seven troops killed in al Qaeda attack in Yemen, official says

By Hakim Almasmari, For CNN
  • Seven government troops killed in sudden attack
  • Militants are believed to have been al Qaeda
  • Extremist militants took over areas of Abyan province when government forces suddenly evacuated, residents said

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- Seven government troops were killed and six others injured on Friday in fierce clashes with suspected al Qaeda militants in Yemen's southern Abyan province.

A senior security official in Dofas, Abyan, said Saturday that the militants attacked troops unexpectedly near the military base in Dofas.

He said that more than 25 militants participated in the attack while one of them was killed as they were leaving the district.

He added that militants used five pick up vehicles in the attack.

"It was a short but fierce ten minutes after they attacked our forces. We deployed three military teams after them and the government will continue pursuing the terrorists," the official said, who is not named because he is not authorized to talk to media.

Friday night, the Interior Ministry announced that its forces killed three suspected al Qaeda militants in Abyan province.

Eyewitnesses in Dofas, Abyan, said that militants attacked on Friday a governmental military helicopter, causing serious damages to it. Majed al-Zayadi, the pilot of the helicopter, was injured in the attack.

Three suspected al Qaeda militants were also injured in Zinjibar after clashing with pro government tribal fighters Saturday morning, fighters confirmed.

The militants still control vast areas in the province.

The extremist militants took over areas of the province when government forces suddenly evacuated from towns and cities of Abyan, residents said.