A suicide attacker driving a pickup truck packed with explosives blew himself up outside an army camp in Yemen’s coastal city of Aden on Sunday, killing at least eight army soldiers and injuring dozens, security officials said.

The officials said the blast took place near the gate of the camp as a column of vehicles loaded with troops and supplies was preparing to leave for nearby Abyan province to take part in fighting against al-Qaeda-linked militants.

Two senior officers, a major and a lieutenant-colonel, were among the eight killed, the officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

Sunday’s car bomb was the second in less than two months in Aden and followed repeated warnings by officials that al-Qaeda-linked militants were infiltrating the Arabian Sea port city to prepare for attacks there against security forces.

The militants control two cities in neighbouring Abyan province and have held on to them in the face of numerous airstrikes and a ground offensive by government forces.

Yemen, an impoverished nation in the southern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, is home to one of the most active al-Qaeda branches in the world. Additionally, the country has been in turmoil for nearly six months, with near daily massive street protests demanding long-time leader Ali Abdullah Saleh step down.

The unrest has emboldened al-Qaeda militants to capture and hold territory in parts of the nearly lawless south of the country, causing alarm in Washington and in Yemen’s rich Gulf Arab neighbours.

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