ADEN, Yemen, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) -- At least four soldiers of Yemen's government forces were killed in an explosion in the country's turbulent southern province of Abyan on Friday, a security official told Xinhua.
"An explosion apparently caused by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) struck military vehicles involved in an operation against terror elements in Abyan's district of Al Mahfid, killing four soldiers and injuring five others," the local security source said on condition of anonymity.
He said that the IED explosion sparked armed confrontations between the government forces and al-Qaida gunmen in the area.
Earlier in the day, military units of the Southern Transitional Council (STC) which is part of Yemen's government announced "launching a qualitative anti-terror operation and succeeded in raiding a key hideout of al-Qaida in Abyan."
Scores of al-Qaida militants frequently use hit-and-run tactics against Yemeni government forces while hiding out in rocky terrains and mountainous areas of Abyan and other neighboring provinces.
The Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula network has exploited years of deadly conflict between the Yemeni government and the Houthi militia to expand its presence in the war-ravaged Arab country. It has carried out many high-profile attacks against the security forces in the country's southern provinces. ■