A Yemeni military official says al-Qaida-linked militants have attacked a military barracks in an embattled southern town, leaving two soldiers and 11 militants dead.

The official said Saturday that another 36 soldiers were injured in the base in Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan province.

He says that the fighting began Friday night and continued into the morning. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Militants and the army have fought for control of Zinjibar since May. A 10-month-old uprising against authoritarian President Ali Abdullah Saleh has caused a breakdown of authority throughout the country.

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