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ADEN, Yemen, At least 17 Yemeni civilians were killed, and seven others injured, in a roadside bomb blast, in the country's southern province of al-Dhalea, a police official told Xinhua.

According to the police source, the blast occurred in Qatabah district of al-Dhalea province, when civilian vehicles running along a main road, touched off an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), planted by terrorists.

A local government official blamed the al-Qaeda militant group for planting the IED, in the district of Qatabah, in an obvious attempt to blow up military vehicles passing through the area.

"The al-Qaeda terrorists apparently planned to target pro-government forces by IED, but they failed and killed innocent civilians, instead," the government source said.

The Yemen-based al-Qaeda branch, seen by the United States as the global terror network's most dangerous branch, has exploited years of deadly conflict between Yemen's government and Houthi rebels, to expand its presence, especially in Shabwa and Abyan provinces.

Yemen's government, allied with a Saudi-led Arab military coalition, has for years been battling Shiite Houthi rebels, for control of the impoverished country.

UN statistics showed that, more than 8,000 people have been killed in Yemen's conflict, most of them civilians, since the Saudi-led coalition entered the conflict in 2015.


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