Suspected al-Qaeda militants have fired rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns at a military base in southern Yemen, killing two soldiers guarding its gate, a senior military official said.

Brigadier General Mohammed Abdullah, commander of the army's 115th brigade, said one of the attackers, a Saudi national, was killed in the attack on his unit's base in the southern town of Lawder in Abyan province. He said two Yemeni nationals were arrested.

Yemen's al-Qaeda branch is considered by the US to be the network's most dangerous offshoot.

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