Yemen attack on military checkpoint 'kills 20 soldiers'

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Twenty Yemeni soldiers have been killed in an attack on a military checkpoint in eastern Yemen, reports say.

Yemen's state-run Saba news agency reports the attack took place in the province of Hadramawt.

Security sources earlier said eight had died and six were wounded in an attack that one source attributed to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The Yemeni military has been tackling a powerful al-Qaeda insurgency in the province in recent years.

Hadramawt is a centre of oil production and seen as a stronghold for AQAP, which has been waging a campaign against the Western-backed government.

"Twenty soldiers were killed in the armed attack on an army checkpoint" near Reida, about 135km (85 miles) east of the provincial capital Mukalla, Saba reported.

One source told the AFP news agency that the attack was carried out by gunmen in several vehicles.

Last year, the army managed to drive al-Qaeda out of towns it had taken over in southern Yemen amidst the chaos triggered by a mass uprising against the veteran President Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2012.

But this year, its members appear to have regrouped, carrying out a wave of attacks on security targets, says the BBC's Arab affairs editor Sebastian Usher.

In a gruesome warning, the group recently executed one of its own and displayed his body, claiming he had been a spy helping US drones to hit al-Qaeda leaders, he adds.

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