At least 27 people were killed in an overnight raid by dozens of Al_Qaeda militants on Yemeni government buildings and military posts in Seyoun, the second largest city in the south-eastern Hadramout province.
"The gunmen targeted the main military posts, the local police headquarters and bank branches and briefly captured some buildings before they withdrew in the morning," local officials said, Reuters reported.
Al-Qaeda has conducted many hit-and-run attacks since the Yemeni army drove it from its strongholds in Abyan and Shabwa provinces, also in the South, last month.
"The militants arrived in 15 pickup trucks from desert areas outside Seyoun and proceeded to attack various government buildings," it said.
"They wanted to capture the city and control it," an official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.
The official put the death toll among the militants at 20, saying they took away 18 bodies. "Five members of the security forces and two soldiers died in the fighting."