Sana'a: At least nine soldiers were killed and four injured on Tuesday morning when a group of armed men, purportedly to be members of Al Qaida, attacked a checkpoint in an area called Al Dhaweb in the desert of the province of Hadramout, a senior security officer told Gulf News.

"A group of militants staged a surprise pre-dawn attack on the checkpoint,killing nine and injuring four soldiers. The attackers also abducted a soldier and released him later. We do not know why they killed the soldier's colleagues and set him free," the officer said. 

The officer preferred to be anonymous since he was not authorized to talk to the press. The attack comes a day after Al Qaida-linked Ansar Al Sharia failed on Monday to occupy an outpost in the town of Lawder in the Abyan province.

The Ministry of Defense said on Monday that army forces and pro-government tribes killed 40 Al Qaida militants in the clashes.