Seven soldiers and a civilian were killed on Friday in clashes in south Yemen with unknown gunmen who may have been from Al-Qaeda, security officials said.
One security official said that security forces in Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan province, had been engaged in violent clashes with dozens of unknown gunmen since Friday morning, in which Colonel Qassem Sheikh and three other soldiers were killed.
The latter three died when a checkpoint at the entrance of Zinjibar was attacked, the official said, while Sheikh was killed as gunmen tried to enter the 25th mechanised brigade headquarters.
An unknown number of others were wounded, the official added.
Another security official said earlier on Friday that one soldier was killed and five were wounded in a shootout with attackers near a bank in Zinjibar, while one civilian was killed and three wounded.
The attackers were able to make off with money from the bank.
A medical source said that two of the wounded from the earlier fighting were in serious condition and were transported to the Razi public hospital in the city.
And in Loder, also in Abyan province, presumed Al-Qaeda members attacked a barracks, killing two soldiers, the second security official said.