Wounded army soldiers are taken away from the scene of a suicide bombing near the southern Yemeni city of Zinjibar, capital of the Abyan province March 4, 2012. Suicide bombers linked to al Qaeda killed at least seven soldiers in coordinated attacks on military outposts in southern Yemen on Sunday, officials and residents said, part of an escalation of violence since a presidential vote two weeks ago. (Reuters Pictures)
SANAA, Yemen (WaPo) — Sneaking across the desert behind army lines, al-Qaida militants launched a surprise attack against military bases in south Yemen, killing 107 soldiers and capturing heavy weapons they later used to kill more troops, officials said on Monday.
The military officials said at least 32 of the militants were killed in Sunday’s fighting in Abyan province, and scores were wounded on both sides. Medical officials in the area confirmed the death toll figures. They said the poor services in local hospitals accounted for the death of many soldiers who suffered serious wounds but could have survived had they been given better medical care.
The death toll among the troops is believed to be the highest on record in battles fought by the army against al-Qaida militants, who have been emboldened by the political turmoil roiling the impoverished Arab nation for more than a year.