Sana`a: Al Qaeda militants killed five soldiers in an ambush southern Yemen on Thursday, a Yemeni security official said.
Meanwhile, rebels in the north fought with Army units and government-allied tribes killing at least 20 people in the latest series of clashes there.
A security official said the slain soldiers in the south were on a routine patrol in the city al-Aatik, in Shabwa province.
The province of Shabwa is believed to be a hideout for al Qaeda militants including the US-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who played a key part in the failed terrorist Christmas Day attempt to take down a Detroit-bound passenger jet.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the press.
In addition to elements of al Qaeda holed up in its remote hinterland, Yemen is also contending with a rebellion by Shi’ite tribesmen in the north, along the border with Saudi Arabia.
Heavy fighting, including rockets and artillery has killed at least 53 people over the past week in the northern province of Amran.
The clashes were the most serious since the government and northern rebels signed a cease-fire in February to end years of bloody conflict.
According to tribesmen on Thursday, fighting also left dozens injured and led to destruction of many houses.