SANAA, Yemen, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Al-Qaida fighters in Yemen killed nine government troops in an ambush in the restive southern province of Abyan, sources said.
The official Saba news agency, citing unnamed sources, reports as many as 15 militants with al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula killed the Yemen troops in an ambush.
AQAP emerged on the international radar in 2009 when radical Yemeni cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was connected to a shooting rampage in Fort Hood, Texas, and a failed passenger plane bombing in Detroit. Awlaki was placed on Washington's hit list in early 2010.
Washington announced in December that it froze the assets of al-Qaida operative Fahd al-Quso for his connection to top militant leaders in Yemen.
Quso was added to the United Nations' so-called 1267 list of individuals sanctioned for alleged ties to al-Qaida. The State Department in a simultaneous decision said it was listing Quso as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.
The State Department accuses Quso of having a hand in the 2000 attack on the USS Cole in the Port of Yemen and for associating with Awlaki.
Washington is providing assistance to Yemen to help tackle the AQAP threat, though the Yemeni government was recently accused of contracting out some U.S. military equipment for private security details.