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Militants attack presidential palace in mounting Yemen turmoil

Published on May 10, 2014 10:46 AM

SANAA (REUTERS) - Suspected Al-Qaeda-linked gunmen attacked Yemen's presidential palace on Friday and tried to kill the defence minister in his car, selecting high profile targets in apparent reprisal for the army's biggest push against militants in nearly two years.

Four soldiers were killed in a gun battle of up to an hour that broke out when militants attacked the main gate of the palace in the capital Sanaa, a security source said. Sanaa was in lockdown after the gunfight, with checkpoints set up at all the main entrances into the capital.

State news agency Saba published a brief statement saying three security personnel were killed when a "terrorist group" attacked their patrol vehicle. An explosion was later heard near a building used by the government's intelligence services in another district of the city, residents told Reuters.

In the south, Defence Minister Muhammad Nasir Ahmad escaped an assassination bid by suspected Al-Qaeda gunmen who attacked a his motorcade in the province of Shabwa. The defence ministry's website later said the shots heard near Mr Ahmad's convoy were celebratory gunfire.

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