SANAA, Yemen — Suspected Al Qaeda militants launched surprise attacks Friday on a checkpoint and a police patrol in Yemen, killing 17 soldiers, military and security officials said.
The first attack took place in the ancient city of Shibam in the restive province of Hadramawt, where attackers surprised the soldiers as they were having lunch and battled them for nearly half an hour before fleeing the scene, officials said. Fifteen soldiers were killed.
At least five of the attackers were hit and either killed or wounded, but militants carried them away, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.
Earlier, gunmen targeted a police patrol in the central province of Bayda, killing two, said Adel al-Asbahi, the provincial security chief. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.