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Al Qaeda militants attacked a military convoy in south Yemen in an ambush on Friday, killing 12 soldiers and wounding three, a regional security official said.
The army patrol cars carrying water supplies to a military camp were targeted in the city of Lawdar in the southern province of Abyan, where several military raids were carried out against suspected al Qaeda militants last year.
In November, a day after the state kicked off a regional soccer cup, a roadside bomb in Lawdar killed one soldier and wounded two others riding in a military vehicle.
Abyan's capital Zinjibar was hosting the 20th Gulf Cup along with the neighbouring coastal province of Aden and the government had put in place heavy security, deploying tens of thousands of troops to prevent any violence.
Yemen is trying to quell a resurgent wing of al Qaeda that has stepped up attacks on Western and regional targets in the poor Arabian Peninsula state, a neighbour of oil giant Saudi Arabia.
Yemen, also trying to maintain a shaky truce with rebels in the north, is a focus of Western security concerns after two U.S.-bound parcel bombs were intercepted in Britain and Dubai in October, a plot claimed by al Qaeda's Yemen-based regional wing.
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