Militants of the Yemen-based al-Qaeda branch killed three soldiers of the Yemeni government's elite troops in an overnight ambush in the southern province of Abyan, a military official said on Friday.
"Three soldiers of the elite Presidential Guard troops fell victim to a deadly ambush orchestrated by al-Qaeda militants in Abyan province on Thursday night, an area that has witnessed a recent upsurge in extremist activities," said the official on condition of anonymity.
He confirmed that the soldiers were on a military patrol in the Mudiyah district of Abyan when their vehicle was targeted by al-Qaeda members.
The ambush was executed with precision as the attackers unleashed a fusillade of gunfire on the military vehicle, resulting in immediate fatalities, according to the official.
The attack comes amid a concerted anti-terror campaign by forces loyal to the Southern Transitional Council, a secessionist organization in southern Yemen.
The campaign launched a series of operations aimed at dismantling the hold of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) over the vast and hard-to-reach territories of Abyan and other neighboring provinces during the past months.
AQAP and other extremist elements have taken advantage of Yemen's civil chaos to seize territory and carry out attacks on security forces and government institutions.
Yemen has been embroiled in a devastating civil war since late 2014, with the Houthis fighting against the internationally-recognized Yemeni government. The Saudi Arabia-led coalition intervened in the conflict in support of the Yemeni government in 2015.
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