Suspected Al-Qaeda militants have killed three senior Yemeni Air Force pilots on their way to an air base in the south of the country.
On Wednesday, the three colonels were shot to death after their vehicle was intercepted by two gunmen on a motorcycle in Dubba, an area about 10 kilometers (six miles) outside the al-Annad base in the southern province of Lahj.
Reuters quoted a security official as saying: “Three pilots were in one car and when they slowed down for a road bump, the militants ambushed them.”
Two of the pilots were reportedly trainers.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has taken advantage of the weakness of the Yemeni central government during anti-government demonstrations to expand their presence in the impoverished country.
Al-Qaeda loyalists have carried out a spate of deadly attacks against Yemeni security forces since Ali Abdullah Saleh’s successor, President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, came to power in February 2012.
In May 2012, the Yemeni military launched an all-out offensive and retook a string of towns in the southern province of Abyan, where al-Qaeda loyalists had established themselves.