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Islamic State claims deadly Yemen attacks on army: SITE

Earlier on Friday, the Yemeni army had blamed the attack on al-Qaeda whose militants control a nearby city
The southeastern Yemen city of Mukalla, a stronghold of al-Qaeda militants (AFP)

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for attacks on Friday on army positions in southeast Yemen, SITE monitoring group said, after the military had blamed Al-Qaeda for the deadly assaults.

IS said in a statement, quoted by SITE Intelligence Group, that 50 Yemeni troops were killed in a suicide attack and clashes in Hadramawt province.

The Yemeni army earlier said al-Qaeda had launched the attacks on army positions near the town of Shibam, and that 12 soldiers and 19 militants were killed while medics said the army lost 15 men.

The attacks targeted army positions near the town of Shibam in Hadramawt province, a stronghold of al-Qaeda whose militants control its capital, Mukalla.

The main attack was staged at the western entrance to Shibam, which is known as the "Manhattan of the Desert" and listed as a UNESCO world heritage site for its high-rise mud-brick buildings.

Local officials said fierce clashes broke out after militants exploded a roadside bomb targeting an army patrol, while a suicide bomber blew up a car at an army post near a residential area.

"The blast damaged many homes, wounding several civilians," the medical source said in the nearby town of Seiyun, where the casualties and the bodies of the dead soldiers were transported.

Army units posted in Hadramawt are loyal to the government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi in the face of an armed revolt by the Houthis.

Following the Saudi-led military intervention against Houthi advances in northern and southern Yemen and the collapse of central authority, al-Qaeda seized control in April of the port city of Mukalla.