Sanaa: Yemeni officials say al-Qaida-linked fighters have attacked an army post in an embattled southern province, sparking a battle in which nine militants and a soldier were killed.

A security official said on Thursday that the militants fled after a firefight last night east of the town of Zinjibar in Abyan province, leaving behind their dead.

A medic at a military hospital in the nearby city of Aden confirms that the clash happened, and says that four wounded soldiers were under treatment. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to brief the media.

Yemen's army is fighting to regain control of Zinjibar and other areas in the south that fell into the hands of militants during the country's nine-month political crisis.