Around 20 people were killed when two car bombs exploded at a military camp in al-Nashama in Shabwa Province, the source said. Gunmen also killed around 10 members of a military headquarters in the town of Mayfaa.
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Officials believe members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) were behind the bomb attack, the source said.
A concealed bomb in one car exploded among a group of soldiers at the gate as the driver sought to enter the camp. The other was already inside the camp when it exploded, he added.
Shabwa Province, a lawless and rugged part of Yemen, has been the scene of much fighting in recent years between Islamist terrorists and the security forces.
Maintaining stability in impoverished Yemen is a priority for Washington and Gulf states because of its location next to major oil shipping routes and Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter.
AQAP is seen by Western countries as one of the most dangerous branches of al-Qaeda because it has attempted to carry out bombings on international airlines.
The group and allied local Islamist terrorists took advantage of political chaos in Yemen during the Arab Spring in 2011 to seize control of some towns and surrounding areas in the south of the country.
They were beaten back by Yemeni forces with assistance from the United States last year but have continued to stage attacks against government and military targets.
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