Aden - Fourteen people were killed when suspected al-Qaeda militants opened fire at a military checkpoint in Yemen's southern Shabwa province, the interior ministry said on Thursday.
Yemen is the main stronghold of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (Aqap), one of the Islamist militant group's most active wings.
The insurgents attacked the army checkpoint in the city of Bayhan with machine guns at dawn while most of the soldiers were sleeping and fled the scene after setting fire to two army vehicles, a local official told Reuters.
The official had earlier placed the death toll at 12 soldiers but a text message sent by the interior ministry's website raised it to 14, including eight soldiers and six government-allied tribesmen.
President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi said in April that Yemen was at war with al-Qaeda. The militants have stepped up attacks on government facilities after being driven out of strongholds in southern Shabwa and Abyan provinces.
Yemen has been in turmoil since 2011, when mass protests forced long-ruling president Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.
As well as the al-Qaeda threat, the country faces challenges from separatists in the south and an emboldened Shi'ite tribal militia trying to cement its control of the northern highlands.