ADEN, Yemen, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- A homemade bomb blast struck a regular patrol of the pro-government forces in Yemen's oil-rich province of Shabwa on Saturday, killing a military officer and a soldier, a government official told Xinhua.
"The explosion is caused by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) targetting a patrol of Shabwa's defense troops when it was passing by a public market in Ataq, capital of Shabwa," the local government source said on condition of anonymity.
The explosion that rocked the area also injured two soldiers and a number of civilians gathering in the area, according to the source.
Attacks carried out by militant groups against the pro-government southern troops have surged in various regions of Yemen when an UN-brokered nationwide truce is set to expire in the upcoming hours.
The explosion came as the Yemeni government forces backed by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition are striking the hideouts of the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch mainly in the mountainous areas in Shabwa.
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 rebels to expand its presence in the war-ravaged Arab country. ■