SANAA, Yemen — Suspected al-Qaida militants fired rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machineguns at a military base in southern Yemen on Saturday, killing two soldiers guarding its gate, a senior military official said.
Brig. Gen. Mohammed Abdullah, commander of the army's 115th Brigade, told reporters that one of the attackers, a Saudi national, was killed in the morning attack on his unit's base in the southern town of Lawder in Abyan province. He said two Yemeni nationals were arrested.
A military statement later said four suspects were killed. A member of local militias formed to help the military combat the growing threat of al-Qaida in the country's lawless provinces told The Associated Press that three al-Qaida suspects, all Yemenis, were executed by the militias.
The militia member was speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. He said the militia carried out the summary execution because it feared authorities would set the militants free.
Yemen's al-Qaida branch, also known al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, is considered by the U.S. to be the terror network's most dangerous offshoot. The group seized large swaths of southern Yemen after the country's 2011 uprising. A U.S.-backed military offensive later drove militants out of main cities and towns, but they continue to stage attacks.