Yemeni government forces, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, have recaptured a key military base in their temporary capital of Aden, after it was overrun by fighters, according to military officials.
Reinforcements were rushed to the al-Solban base near Aden airport and succeeded in recapturing it on Wednesday, hours after it was captured by suspected al-Qaeda fighters earlier in the day, the officials said.
“Troops and special forces have regained control of the base after pushing back the jihadists, several of whom were killed in the fighting,” base commander General Nasser Sarie told the AFP news agency.
The troops were backed up by Apache assault helicopters belonging to a Saudi-led military alliance, other officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the dpa news agency.
At least 10 soldiers were killed and seven others injured in the early morning assault, which started when two suicide bombers blew themselves up in explosive-rigged cars at checkpoints guarding the entrance to the base, according to military sources.
Following the two explosions, gunmen believed to belong to al-Qaeda attempted to storm the base and managed to barricade themselves into buildings in and around it.
Death toll not clear
There was no immediate information about the death toll among the attackers or the fate of the rest of the officers who had been inside the headquarters building when it was attacked.
Yemen has been at war since September 2014, when Iran-backed Houthi rebels and their allies drove the government out of the capital Sanaa and much of the country’s north.
The Houthis controlled Aden, the main city in southern Yemen, for months before government forces backed by a Saudi-led Arab coalition pushed them back in July.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has exploited the chaos to expand areas under its control and recruit more followers.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) has also launched several mass-casualty attacks on security forces.
Late last month, fighters pledging allegiance to ISIL claimed responsibility for a wave of suicide bomb attacks that killed 38 government troops in the southern port city of Mukalla.