10 of al-Qaeda loyalists among 20 dead in Yemen attack

Ten people were killed Monday in a jihadist attack on a government building in southern Yemen that also saw 10 assailants die, including a suicide bomber, officials said.

The suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden car into the entrance of the local government headquarters in Huta, the provincial capital of Lahj, a security official said.

Security forces killed nine militants, including three wearing explosives belts and others armed with guns, when the assailants attacked the building following the bombing, the official said.

Six soldiers and four civilians were killed in the bombing and gunfight, and two soldiers and two civilians were wounded, the official said.

Lahj's deputy governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, accused Al-Qaeda of being behind the attack.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has exploited a power vacuum created by the war between the government and Huthi rebels who control the capital Sanaa and number of major cities along the Red Sea coast.

The United States regards AQAP as the jihadist network's most dangerous branch.

Washington has conducted more than 40 air raids, including drone strikes, against AQAP in March alone. Many of the strikes have targeted towns in southern provinces where the radical group is known to operate.

At least 25 suspected AQAP members have been killed in the raids.

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