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Yemen troops killed in attack on checkpoint

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Three members of Yemen's security forces have been killed in an attack on a checkpoint in the southern province of Shabwa, officials say.

The identity of the attackers, who escaped after the raid, has not been confirmed.

One report said they were separatists but Yemen has also been hunting al-Qaeda operatives in the region.

Al-Qaeda's profile in the region was raised after a failed attempt to bomb a US plane on 25 December.

The southern separatist movement has been gaining strength.

It began two years ago when former southern military officials, forced into compulsory retirement, demanded higher pension payments.

Protesters have accused President Ali Abdullah Saleh of corruption and have openly called for independence.

Yemen has also been under increasing pressure to crack down on the Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula group.

The group, based in Yemen, apparently trained a Nigerian man charged over the failed bomb plot.



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