Nine soldiers, five militants killed in attack on elite Yemeni force

Suspected Al-Qaeda militants attacked a military checkpoint in southeastern Yemen, killing at least nine soldiers from a local force backed by a member of the Arab coalition fighting in the country, an official said on Thursday.
The official said that five suspected militants also died during the gun attack late on Wednesday outside Al-Mukala, the Hadramout provincial capital, against a unit of the Hadrami Elite Forces.
The unit was set up and trained by the UAE, as part of a strategy to combat Al-Qaeda.
Hisham Al-Jaberi, a local military commander, said at least four other soldiers from the Hadrami Elite Forces were also wounded in the attack in an area called Wadi Hajjar.
Al-Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), had briefly seized control of Mukalla and several other towns and cities in the neigboring Shabwa, Abyan and Al-Bayda provinces. Local forces, backed by the UAE member of the Arab coalition, drove them out in a series of military operations over the past two years.
But militants still operate in remote areas in southeastern Yemen, including in Abyan, Shabwa and Al-Bayda.
The coalition, which includes the UAE, is fighting in Yemen against Iran-aligned Houthis.

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