A suicide bomber rammed his explosives-laden car into a police station Sunday in Yemen's southern province of Abyan, killing 8 soldiers and injuring 20 others, a Yemeni security official told Xinhua.

Two hours after the suicide bombing, residents said that fierce clashes occurred between pro-government forces and suspected al-Qaida gunmen near the local authority compound in Abyan's provincial capital city of Zinjibar.

Eight pro-government soldiers were killed and up to 20 were critically wounded, the security source said, adding that the explosion also damaged nearly five armored cars lined up inside the police center in Abyan province.

The source said that the suicide car bomb targeted newly-trained soldiers gathered inside a police station in Al-Wadea district of Abyan province, the hometown of Saudi-backed Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

No one claimed responsibility yet for the attack.

The AQAP, also known locally as Ansar al-Sharia, emerged in January 2009.

It had claimed responsibility for a number of terrorist attacks on Yemen's army and government institutions.

Yemeni government forces launched anti-terror offensives and drived out scores of gunmen linked to the al-Qaida and the Yemen-based affiliate of the Daesh terror group from key neighborhoods and government compounds in Lahj and Abyan provinces in the last two months.

Last month, the pro-government army troops stormed two strategic cities occupied by terrorists in the southern province of Abyan near Yemen's temporary capital of Aden from different directions, following intense battles against the al-Qaida group.

Scores of the al-Qaida fighters were kicked out from the two cities of Jaar and Zinjibar in Abyan province following an all-out military offensive supported by the Saudi-led coalition and UAE armored vehicles.

Security in Yemen has deteriorated since March 2015, when war broke out between the Shiite Houthi group, supported by former President Ali Abdullash Saleh, and the government backed by a Saudi-led Arab coalition.

More than 6,400 people have been killed in ground battles and airstrikes since then, half of them civilians.