Hani Mohammed, Associated Press
SANAA, Yemen — Suspected al-Qaida gunmen dressed in fatigues and riding in military trucks overran a key army base in Yemen's largest province on Monday, security officials said, holding captive high-ranking officers and soldiers inside in the latest bold attack by militants there.
Security officials said the base in Yemen's Hadramawt province is supposed to be protected by several check points leading to its main gate, but that no security was posted outside the military compound when the attack took place.
The military sent in reinforcements and troops are now surrounding the compound, the officials said.
The attack underscores al-Qaida's ability to exploit security lapses in Yemen, despite a dramatic rise in the number of U.S. drone strikes on militants there — including in Hadramawt — since President Barack Obama took office.
This month the group launched an assault that killed 38 soldiers in a nearby province. Washington says the local Yemeni branch is one of the world's most dangerous offshoots of the al-Qaida network.
In the Monday attack, authorities believe at least 15 militants stormed into the base, east of the city of Mukalla, in stolen military vehicles. They threw explosives at the main gate and gunned down security guards before overtaking the facility after a brief firefight inside, officials said.
Officials have not released a death toll.
A colonel who works at the base but who was not there when it came under attack says he received phone calls from comrades inside who alerted him to the attack.
The officials and colonel spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
For a time, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, as the group is known in Yemen, was perhaps the most powerful offshoot in the region. In 2011, during political turmoil in Yemen, al-Qaida fighters temporarily seized control of a string of cities and towns in the south, where they remain active.
- Man abandoned 30 years ago tries to find his...
- Woman struck, killed by duck boat in downtown...
- Terminating parental rights: State policies...
- Obama out: President takes last shots at...
- Kentucky Confederate monument to be removed...
- Did woman sway boy to kill his dad? Court...
- Oculus Rift delays flatten virtual-reality...
- Kenya burns huge pile of ivory tusks to...
- Thousands threaten to boycott Target... 88
- Former Speaker Boehner calls Cruz... 56
- Cruz taps Fiorina to serve as running mate 40
- Violence follows California Trump... 34
- New poll finds Americans less likely to... 33
- ... 31
- Sen. Ted Cruz secures second Utah... 27
- Illinois bills would limit mentally ill... 21