Three Yemeni soldiers were killed Tuesday when a suicide bomber managed to reach an army checkpoint with his car after a helicopter gunship destroyed the car of a fellow attacker, the military said.
In a clash that followed the bombing on the outskirts of Qatan town in southeastern Hadramawt province, four suspected Al-Qaeda militants were killed, the same official said.
The official said a helicopter had fired a missile at an explosives-laden car driven by a suicide bomber, destroying it some 500 metres (547 yards) before reaching the checkpoint.
But a second suicide bomber sped his way towards the same checkpoint and detonated his explosives, killing the soldiers.
Gunmen then attacked the position.
Attacks on the army are frequent in Qatan, where Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is active.
A double attack on August 29, one a suicide car bombing, by Al Qaeda suspects on a barracks killed four soldiers and 10 insurgents.
There were more casualties on both side on August 17 after the army attacked a house in Qatan where Al-Qaeda fighters had barricaded themselves.
AQAP, considered by Washington as the most dangerous affiliate of the jihadist network, is active across several parts of Yemen, taking advantage of a collapse of central authority during a 2011 uprising that ousted veteran president Ali Abdullah Saleh.