SANAA, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Four people were killed on Wednesday in violent attacks in several Yemeni southern provinces, police sources said.
Suspected al-Qaida militants planted an explosive device inside a car of the police chief of the southern province of al-Bayda, Colonel Khaled al-Dhiley, while it was parking near a public market in the province's central city, killing one of his bodyguards and injuring three others, police sources said. Colonel al-Dhiley was not inside the car at that moment.
The attack took place one day after the Yemeni army deployed dozens of the military armored vehicles and tanks to the neighboring town of Radda, in an apparent preparation to launch a large ground offensive against the militants inside the town, according to officials at al-Bayda's security operations control room.
In the southern province of Taiz, at least three gunmen, including one escaped from the province central prison several weeks ago, were killed, and 10 others injured in clashes between wanted criminals and the security forces in al-Rawda headquarters in Taiz's central city.
In the province of Dhamar, fierce sectarian clashes erupted on Wednesday morning between a Shiite armed group affiliated with the Yemeni northern Houthi Shiite rebels and Salafi-Sunni armed tribesmen in Maabar city, injuring dozens from the rivals.
The Yemeni Interior Ministry said Wednesday that it has tightened security measures inside the capital Sanaa and in the southern port city of Aden after a series of airstrike that killed at least 15 al-Qaida operatives over the past four days.
Meanwhile, the official Saba news agency reported on Wednesday that President Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi reaffirmed Yemen is responsible for securing the Gulf of Aden and Bab al-Mandab Strait of the Red Sea.
Hadi made this speech at a meeting in Sanaa with foreign diplomatic missions to discuss the development of the Yemeni security measures in combating terrorism and piracy in the region.
The Yemeni government enhanced security in the impoverished country since Hadi was sworn in in February 2012, after a yearlong unrest weakened the control of the central government and allowed the militants to take over swaths of territory in the south.
The government managed to recapture several of those southern cities in May last year.