'Qaida' Suicide Bomber Kills 3 Yemen Militiamen

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A suspected al-Qaida jihadist blew himself up in a municipal building in the south Yemen town of Zinjibar on Friday, killing three pro-army militiamen, a local chief told AFP.

Four other militiamen were wounded in the assault, said Hussein al-Waheshi, a tribal chief and militia commander, adding that the toll was preliminary.

"A suicide bomber belonging to al-Qaida sneaked into the local municipality building in Zinjibar where members of the Popular Resistance Committees were present, blowing himself up and killing three of them," Waheshi said.

Hundreds of militiamen, known as the Popular Resistance Committees, fought alongside the Yemeni army last May to oust al-Qaida from southern towns, mainly in Abyan province.

The militiamen and their leaders have repeatedly come under attack by the jihadists.

Last month, al-Qaida militants including a suicide bomber killed six Yemeni militiamen and wounded eight in an attack on a checkpoint in Abyan's town of Mudiya.

al-Qaida militants took advantage of the weakness of Yemen's central government during an uprising last year against now ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh to seize large swathes of territory in the south, including Zinjibar and other Abyan towns.

But after a month-long offensive in May launched by Yemeni troops, most militants fled to more lawless desert regions of the east.

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