ADEN, Yemen, June 22 (Xinhua) -- Militants of the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch carried out an attack against a military checkpoint in Yemen's oil-rich province of Shabwa on Wednesday, leaving three soldiers killed, a government official told Xinhua.
"Masked gunmen in two Hilux trucks launched a surprise attack against a military checkpoint manned by Shabwa Defense Forces near the eastern entrance of strategic province, where key oil fields are located," the local government source said on condition of anonymity.
The source added that an armed fight ensued, leaving three soldiers killed and five others injured at the scene.
He clarified that "a stiff resistance by other soldiers stationed in the area forced the al-Qaida gunmen to flee and abandon one of their trucks."
The attack comes several hours after five pro-government soldiers were killed as a result of an ambush set up by al-Qaida gunmen in the neighboring southern province of Abyan.
A series of gunmen attacks happened in recent months in various parts of the Arab country, leading to the deaths of members of security forces.
The Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) network has been responsible for many high-profile attacks against the security forces in the country's southern provinces.
The AQAP has exploited years of deadly conflict between the Yemeni government and Houthi militia to expand its presence in the war-ravaged country. ■