SANAA, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Al-Qaida militants killed 24 Yemeni soldiers of the Special Forces on Monday in an attack on the military barracks in the southeast province of Hadramout, a provincial security official told Xinhua.
"A total of 24 soldiers of the Special Forces were killed and only one soldier survived the attack but sustained severe injuries, " the official at the scene told Xinhua by phone on condition of anonymity.
Early in the morning, the attack targeted the barracks and its checkpoint located at the middle of a 250 km-long highway linking Hadramout's provincial capital of Mukalla and the far southeast province of al-Mahara.
The militants looted two armored vehicles fitted with missile launchers, three pick-up cars and the soldiers' rifles, the official said, adding that army reinforcements were dispatched from al-Mahara to track the militants. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Militants of the Yemen-based al-Qaida offshoot were blamed by the country's government for a series of assassinations and armed attacks, mostly in the country's southern regions.
Last September, the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) released a video message, in which they claimed responsibility for a deadly suicide attack on the second military base headquarters in Mukalla. More than 20 soldiers and officers were killed in that attack.
The AQAP, which emerged in January 2009, is considered the most strategic threat to the Yemeni government and neighboring oil-rich Saudi Arabia.