Sanaa: At least five Yemeni policemen were killed Friday evening when suspected Al Qaeda gunmen attacked a security checkpoint in the southeastern province of al-Bayda, an interior ministry official said.
"Heavily armed gunmen fired machineguns and rocket-propelled grenades on a checkpoint manned by police troops near the main entrance of al-Bayda province, leaving five policemen killed and two others injured," Xinhua quoted the official as saying said on condition of anonymity.
He said that two of the assailants were injured in the assault.
The attack turned into an intense two-hour gunbattle between the police troops and Al Qaeda suspects in the area, the Yemeni official added.
"Two armoured vehicles were torched during the attack and the army and security units were sweeping the region now," an intelligence officer said.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Yemeni military officials blamed militants of the Yemen-based Al Qaeda offshoot for a series of assassinations and armed attacks, mostly in the country`s southern parts.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, also known locally as Ansar al-Sharia, which emerged in January 2009, is considered one of the greatest threats to the Yemeni government and neighbouring oil-rich Saudi Arabia.