Sana’a: Gunmen shot dead two senior Yemeni officers in separate ambushes on their cars on Sunday, security sources said.

It was not immediately known who the gunmen were but Yemeni officials have blamed a string of similar killings of police and military officers on Islamist militants affiliated to Al Qaida.

Attackers in a car shot and killed the head of security of the presidential palace in Taiz, Brigadier General Saddam Hussain Al Dhahri, as he left work in the southern Yemeni city, a security source said.

In a separate incident, Police Colonel Abdullah Gaithallah was killed in the southern province of Al Baida by gunmen who ambushed his car.

An Al Qaida-linked group has claimed responsibility for an attack on Thursday on the Yemeni Defence Ministry in which at least 56 people were killed and more than 200 wounded, the country’s worst militant assault in 18 months.

Violence is common in Yemen, where an interim government is facing southern secessionists and northern Houthi rebels in addition to the Al Qaida-linked militants who are seeking to overthrow the government and impose Islamic law.

The country is also facing severe economic problems inherited from former president Ali Abdullah Saleh who was forced out of office by a popular uprising in 2011.