Yemeni Officials: Al-Qaida Fighters Kill 20 Troops

Yemeni military officials say al-Qaida militants have killed 20 soldiers and captured 25 in a surprise attack on an army base in the southern Abyan province.

Yemen, after the Arab Spring, is awash with al Qaeda militants.

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemeni military officials say al-Qaida militants have killed 20 soldiers and captured 25 in a surprise attack on an army base in the southern Abyan province.

The officials say Monday's pre-dawn assault was staged by militants who managed to reach the army base both from the sea and by land. It came a day after a top al-Qaida leader on the FBI's most wanted list was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Yemen.

The officials say government forces later shelled militant positions elsewhere in Abyan, killing 16 militants. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media.

Yemen's fighting has concentrated near Abyan's provincial capital of Zinjibar, which has been held by al-Qaida militants for a year.