SANAA, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Yemen-based al-Qaida wing claimed responsibility for assassinating several senior Yemeni intelligence officers last month, in a statement posted on the Jihadi-run websites late on Monday.
In the statement obtained by Xinhua, the al-Qaida wing said it "killed Major Saleh al-Jabri, the prison warden of the Sanaa-based Political Security Agency on Jan. 23 in Dhamar province, about 100 km south of the capital Sanaa."
"Al-Jabri was responsible for torturing its jailed member since February 2011 in the intelligence prison in Sanaa," it said.
"We also attacked a mini-bus carrying a number of intelligence officers in the southern port city of Aden last month, killing several of them and seriously injured the others," the statement said.
Dozens of al-Qaida operatives were held in prisons in Sanaa, according to security officials.
Yemeni intelligence personnel have been targets in the past several months by the Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
The terrorist group also claimed credit for killing a local leader of the Houthi-led Shiite rebels identified as Hassan al-Mu' eyad in the northeastern province of Marib last month. It said that it ambushed another four Shiite rebel commanders in the northern province of Saada, a key stronghold of the Shiite rebel group.
Meanwhile, the AQAP, known locally as Ansra al-Sharia ( Partisans of Islamic Law), confirmed the killing of one of its leader named Abdul-Monem al-Fadhani by a U.S. unmanned drone raid on Jan. 30 in the southern province of Abyan.
Supported by the United States, the Yemeni armed forces have engaged in fierce clashes with AQAP militants since 2009, leaving hundreds of people killed and thousands of others displaced.
In another statement posted on the Jihad-run websites early on Monday, AQAP promised to expand its foothold in Yemen's remote territories by recruiting more tribal supporters, and vowed to seek revenge against the Yemeni government after one of its local tribal chief was assassinated last week by government agents in the southeast province of al-Bayda.
At least two government soldiers were killed and 10 others injured Monday in ongoing fighting with al-Qaida militants in the war-torn southern province of Abyan, a security official old Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The ongoing fighting, which shows the country's fragile security situation ahead of the early presidential elections, would be a major challenge for the country's new administration.