Sana`a: Nine people -- six soldiers and three attackers -- were killed as armed clashes erupted between Yemeni security forces and unidentified gunmen near the presidential palace here Friday evening, a security official said.
"Unknown gunmen raided a security checkpoint manned with guarding the presidential palace in Sana`a, sparking armed clashes with the soldiers in the area," Xinhua quoted the official as saying.
The well-trained attackers were attempting to storm the heavily-guarded presidential palace, but failed, the official said.
Elsewhere in Sana`a, a police officer said that a huge blast was heard near a government compound that belongs to the military intelligence forces. It was followed by exchange of gunfire.
Also in Sana`a, a bomb attached to a bus exploded, wounding up to 12 policemen in an eastern neighbourhood of the city near the headquarters of the British and Qatari embassies.
Earlier in the afternoon, Yemeni defence minister escaped an attack by suspected gunmen of the Yemen-based Al Qaeda branch on a highway linking restive southern provinces of Abyan and Shabwa.
The defence ministry said Thursday that army troops had dislodged scores of Al Qaeda militants from their last bastion in the southeastern province of Shabwa after two weeks of fighting.
Commanders of the Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have vowed to hit back.
The AQAP, known locally as Ansar al-Sharia, emerged in January 2009. It is considered the most strategic threat to the Yemeni government and neighbouring oil-rich Saudi Arabia.