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Dozens of soldiers killed in Yemen suicide attack, sustained assault

By Doug G. Ware
Dozens of soldiers killed in Yemen suicide attack, sustained assault
Soldiers loyal to Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi rally in Taiz, Yemen, in March 2015. Wednesday, suspected al-Qaida militants attacked the al-Solban military base in Aden, Yemen, and killed at least 25 troops, news reports said. The clashes that followed marked the latest violence to besiege the country in the last two years since the Yemeni crisis began. File Photo by Anees Mahyoub/UPI | License Photo

ADEN, Yemen, July 6 (UPI) -- More than two dozen Yemeni soldiers were killed Wednesday after a suicide bombing at a military base sparked bloody fighting from insurgents that lasted for hours, authorities said.

Officials said attackers dressed as government troops launched the assault at a checkpoint of the al-Solban military base, in the port town of Aden. The attack started when two suicide bombers pulled up to a checkpoint and detonated their rigged automobiles.

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The explosions were followed by hours of various clashes in and around the base by militant raiders. The attackers, believed by officials to be affiliated with al-Qaida, fired numerous rocket-propelled grenades at the southern Yemeni base.

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The death toll from the attack varied among news sources. CNN cited multiple Yemeni security officials in reporting at least 25 soldiers were killed in the attack and eight others were wounded. Al-Jazeera reported at least 10 dead and the Anadolu News Agency reported at least six.

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"Majority of the government troops were not inside the base at the time of the attack and were celebrating the Muslim Eid holiday with their families," one senior security official said.

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The attackers were reportedly able at one point to seize control of a military building on the base, and the assault prompted the closure of nearby Aden International Airport, officials said.

Government forces, backed by a Saudi-led military alliance, ultimately recaptured control of the al-Solban base after hours of fighting.

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Wednesday's violence was the latest in ongoing hostilities that have besieged Yemen since 2014, when Shia Muslim Houthi militias overran the capital of Sana'a and forced President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia.

Last year, government and Saudi forces attempted to retake control and in April both sides entered into U.N.-moderated peace talks.

In May, at least 40 soldiers were killed in a suicide attack by Islamic State militants in Aden.

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