A suicide car bomber killed at least five soldiers in the southern Yemeni city of Aden on Sunday, residents and a security official said.
The attack took place at a checkpoint outside the main security headquarters in Aden’s Khor Maksar district, they said.
Speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters, the security officials said the militants had taken an unknown number of people prisoner inside the compound in Aden. They said Shallal al-Shayae, the security chief, was not inside the compound at the time of the attack.
Sunday’s bombing was heard across the city and a plume of smoke could be seen from miles away, residents said. Clashes erupted in the area immediately, they said. It was unclear who was behind the attack or the clashes that followed.
The government has been based in Saudi Arabia since the Houthis overran Sanaa in 2014. Government forces ostensibly control Aden, but the city remains volatile.
More than 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen’s conflict since the Houthis advanced on Aden, forcing President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi him to flee and seek help from Saudi Arabia.
Aden is dominated by Yemeni forces backed by the United Arab Emirates, a key member of the Saudi-led coalition that intervened in Yemen’s war to restore Hadi.
A Saudi-led coalition meanwhile launched a wave of overnight airstrikes on the rebel-held capital, Sanaa, apparently in response to a ballistic missile fired by the rebels toward an international airport on the outskirts of Riyadh, the Saudi capital. Saudi Arabia said it shot down the missile before it hit its target, with fragments landing in an uninhabited area north of the capital.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.