SAN’A, Yemen (AP) – Gunmen killed a Yemeni soldier and injured seven others Saturday in pre-dawn attacks against two military checkpoints that local security officials suspect may have been carried out by al-Qaeda.
The gunmen opened fire with machine guns and then followed with rocket-propelled grenades, a tactic commonly used by al-Qaeda in the country, said a Yemeni security official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
Al-Qaeda has an active presence in Yemen despite government efforts to destroy the network. The group was blamed for the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole destroyer in the Yemeni port of Aden that killed 17 American sailors and an attack on a French oil tanker that killed one person two years later. The Yemeni government has also blamed the terrorist network for several recent attacks against foreign tourists in the country.
The military checkpoints attacked within two hours of each other Saturday were located 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) apart in Yemen’s eastern province of Hadramawt, said the official. It was not immediately clear if the same attackers were involved in both incidents.