ADEN, Yemen, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- Severe clashes broke out in Yemen's southern province of Abyan Friday morning after a suicide car bomber blew up his explosives-laden vehicle near an army base, leaving at least 10 soldiers and 12 militants killed, a government official told Xinhua.
The suicide attacker detonated his booby-trapped car near the gate of the 115th Armored Army Brigade in the coastal town of Shakra, killing at least 10 soldiers and injuring 18 others at the scene, the official said on condition of anonymity.
"It appeared that the suicide bomber was attempting to blew up his booby-trapped car amongst the troops inside the army base, but he failed to reach the target," he said, "The blast was a terrorist attack. Many of the injured soldiers were in rooms inside the army base."
Local residents told Xinhua that "the explosion was followed by indirect fire mortars that aimed at the military base."
Just a few minutes after the bombing, scores of suspected al- Qaida members armed with shoulder-held rocket launchers and assault rifles attacked the army base, a security official said.
According to the security source, the armed attack sparked an intense fighting between the attackers and government soldiers guarding the base, leaving at least 12 militants killed at the site.
An anonymous military official said the base was cordoned off and snipers were deployed along routes leading to it.
The blast is the latest in a series of bombings and suicide attacks targeting security personnel and government institutions across Yemen's restive southern regions.
No one has so far claimed responsibility for the suicide attack, though the car bombings bear the hallmark of al-Qaida militants.
Yemen's military launched a month-long offensive earlier this year and forced al-Qaida militants to flee several of their bastions in the country's restive southern and eastern provinces, which they captured during last year's political turmoil.
The resurgent Yemeni branch of al-Qaida, which has increased its attacks on both foreign and government targets in the Arabian Peninsula state, vowed to carry out more suicide attacks to take revenge.
Fighting al-Qaida militants in the restive south is one of the challenges confronting Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who has promised to launch a national dialogue to settle disputes among all political factions and uproot the Yemeni branch of al- Qaida with the help of the United States and neighboring Saudi Arabia.