ADEN, Yemen, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- An improvised explosive device (IED) detonated during a Yemeni military patrol in the turbulent southern province of Abyan, killing at least five soldiers, a security official told Xinhua on Monday.
The local security official said on condition of anonymity that the attack took place on Sunday night in the Mudiyah district of Abyan, when an IED planted on the side of a road was triggered by a passing military vehicle.
He confirmed that the powerful blast destroyed the vehicle and killed all five soldiers inside.
"It was a huge explosion, the vehicle was completely destroyed," said the security official. "This area is known to have a terrorist presence. They likely planted the IED previously to target our forces."
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the bombing, but authorities suspect the involvement of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), an active militant group in war-ravaged Yemen.
The attack comes amid an uptick in violence between Yemeni government forces and AQAP-linked militants across southern Yemen.
In response to the deadly bombing, Yemeni government forces have deployed reinforcements to Mudiyah to conduct security sweeps and search operations, vowing to root out militant safe havens.
Additional military checkpoints have been set up on roads leading in and out of the district.
The years-long conflict in Yemen has created instability that allows militant groups like AQAP to flourish, especially in remote parts of the south. Even as international peace efforts continue, deadly attacks on local Yemeni forces are likely to persist.
Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war since late 2014, when the Houthi rebel militia attacked several northern cities and forced the internationally-recognized Yemeni government to leave the Yemeni capital of Sanaa. ■