ADEN, Yemen, May 9 (Xinhua) -- Armed clashes erupted between Yemeni security forces and unknown gunmen near the Presidential Palace in the capital Sanaa on Friday evening, leaving six soldiers and three attackers killed, a security official said.
"Unknown gunmen raided a security checkpoint manned with guarding the Presidential Palace in Sanaa, sparking armed clashes with the soldiers in the area," the official said.
The well-trained attackers exceeded the security barracks and were attempting to storm the heavily-guarded Presidential Palace, but failed, according to the Yemeni official.
Local residents said that exchanges of gunfire and explosions still could be heard across the surrounding neighborhoods where the Presidential Palace is located.
Elsewhere in Sanaa, a police officer said that a huge blast was heard near a government compound that belongs to the military intelligence forces. Exchanges of gunfire then followed.
Also in Sanaa, a bomb attached to a bus exploded, wounding up to 12 policemen in an eastern neighborhood of the city near the headquarters of the British and Qatari embassies.
Earlier on Friday afternoon, Yemeni defense minister escaped an attack by suspected gunmen of the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch on a highway linking restive southern provinces of Abyan and Shabwa.
Yemen's Defense Ministry said on Thursday that army troops had dislodged scores of al-Qaida militants from their last bastion in the southeastern province of Shabwa after two weeks of fighting.
Commanders of the Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have vowed to hit back.
The AQAP, known locally as Ansar al-Sharia, emerged in January 2009. It is considered the most strategic threat to the Yemeni government and neighboring oil-rich Saudi Arabia.