Three policemen were killed and five others wounded in an attack by Al Qaida militants on a checkpoint in Yemen’s province of Hadramout, a senior local police officer said.

“A group of Al Qaida assailants attacked a security checkpoint of the 135th Armored Brigade in the Hadramout’s historic city of Shibam. As a result, three policemen were killed and five others injured,” Xinhua news agency quoted the officer as saying on Monday.

The Al Qaida attackers also exchanged heavy gunfire with the security personnel in the area for about one hour, the source said.

The Al Qaida militants failed in their attempt to seize heavy weapons from the security personnel stationed in Shibam city and fled the area with some injuries.

Elsewhere in Yemen, a high-ranking official of Yemen’s Interior Ministry survived an assassination attempt in which unknown gunmen opened fire at his motorcade in Aden province on Monday morning.

Al Qaida militants have intensified their drive-by attacks on security checkpoints in the Yemeni southern provinces as government forces backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have increased military operations against the group’s hideouts in the war-plagued Arab country.

Yemeni government forces and the UAE armed forces operating in the southern province of Aden have launched a new anti-terror military offensive to root out Al Qaida militants from their strongholds in neighbouring southern province of Abyan.

Thousands of newly-recruited Yemeni soldiers joined the operation after receiving military training and financial support from the UAE forces.