At least 13 members of the the Yemen-based al-Qaeda branch and 10 soldiers were killed, during heavy clashes, in Yemen's southern province of Abyan on Tuesday, a military official said.

The military official in Abyan said, on condition of anonymity, that, the fighting broke out near al-Qaeda hideouts, in the Marakisha mountains of Abyan province.

Yemeni military source said, the newly-trained troops launched a surprise attack on al-Qaeda hideouts, in the area, sparking a gun battle that continued for two hours and 45 minutes.

"The troops, supported by the Saudi-led Arab coalition, will continue to conduct pursuit operations and intensify the conduct of military operations, to kick al-Qaeda militants out of Abyan's mountainous areas," he added.

A medical source confirmed that more than 13 al-Qaeda gunmen and about 10 soldiers were killed, during the armed confrontations between the two sides.

Elsewhere in Abyan province, suspected al-Qaeda militants ambushed three government forces vehicles, in the coastal town of Shoqra, leaving about eight soldiers injured.

The Saudi-backed Yemeni government forces, launched anti-terror offensives and drove out scores of gunmen linked to the al-Qaeda and the Yemen-based affiliate of the Daesh from key neighbourhoods and government compounds in Lahj and Abyan provinces, during the past few months.

The Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), also known locally as Ansar al-Sharia, emerged in Jan, 2009. It had claimed responsibility for a number of terrorist attacks on Yemen's army and government institutions.

It took advantage of the current security vacuum and the ongoing civil war, to expand its influence and seize more territories in Yemen's southern part.-