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3 Yemen police killed in clashes with Qaeda suspects

Al-Qaeda suspects, hiding in two houses in Hadramawt's city of Shahr, opened fire at police officers who were trying to search the place, an official says

AFP , Wednesday 20 Nov 2013
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Three police officers were killed in clashes Wednesday with Al-Qaeda suspects in Yemen's southeastern Hadramawt province, an extremists' stronghold, police said.

Al-Qaeda suspects, hiding in two houses in Hadramawt's city of Shahr, opened fire at police officers who were trying to search the place, an official said.

Several Al-Qaeda militants also died in the clashes that broke out at around dawn Wednesday and continued intermittently for several hours before spreading to neighbouring parts of the city, the police official told AFP.

Fighter jets flew over Shahr, where normal business came to a near standstill on Wednesday, according to residents.

On Tuesday, three extremists were killed by a drone strike that targeted their vehicle in the same province, local authority officials had said.

Yemen is the ancestral home of Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and the home base of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which the US views as the global jihadist network's most dangerous franchise.

AQAP took advantage of a decline in central government control during Yemen's 2011 uprising -- which eventually forced president Ali Abdullah Saleh from power -- to seize large swathes of territory across the south.

The militants were driven back in June 2012 and the group has been weakened by US drone strikes.

But AQAP remains active in southern and eastern Yemen, and regularly carries out hit-and-run attacks on security forces.

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