Suspected al-Qaeda fighters have launched a series of attacks on army camps and public buildings in a southeastern town in Yemen, security sources say.
The attacks on Friday night in Seyoun, the second biggest town in Hadramout province, led to fierce fighting in which at least 25 people were killed, Yemen’s Defence Ministry said on Saturday.
Of the dead, 15 were al-Qaeda fighters and 10 were soldiers, the ministry said.
“They wanted to capture the city and control it,” a security official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters news agency.
Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from the capital Sanaa, said the attack was a show of force by al-Qaeda.
“It might be an attempt to show that it wlll be very hard to defeat them in Yemen,” he said.
“Security forces are also concerned about reprisal attacks, including suicide bombings, and Sanaa is on high alert,” he said.
The fighters arrived in 15 pickup vehicles from desert areas outside Seyoun and proceeded to attack various government buildings, a local Yemeni security official said.
Al-Qaeda has conducted many hit-and-run attacks since the Yemeni army drove it from its strongholds in Abyan and Shabwa provinces, also in the south, last month.
Gulf Arab countries and the US are concerned about violence in Yemen, a neighbour of major oil exporter Saudi Arabia and home to one of al-Qaeda’s most active wings.