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Two suicide bombers struck an army camp in central Yemen on Saturday, killing one soldier, while explosions rocked a southern port city and clashes erupted between militants said to be linked to Al Qaeda and security forces in the south, officials said.

The continuing violence across Yemen highlights challenges facing the country after a yearlong political turmoil resulted in a security vacuum and gave Al Qaeda the opportunity to seize several towns in the south.

The threat of Al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula was a major reason that the United States played an active role in Yemen's transition after millions of Yemenis took to the streets demanding the ouster of their longtime ruler, Ali Abdullah Saleh.

After clinging to power for a year, Mr. Saleh officially stepped down when Yemenis voted for his vice president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, to replace him. Mr. Saleh's ouster was part of a deal backed by the United States- and Arab nations that gave him immunity from prosecution in return for leaving power.

Mr. Hadi, during his inaugural speech, said his two top priorities were to restructure the army and begin a national dialogue among various political factions. His first decision was to replace top commanders loyal to Mr. Saleh in the southern province of Aden, where officers were complaining that the departing commander was hindering the movement of supplies to their forces engaging in battles with Al Qaeda.

On Saturday, Mr. Hadi held his first meeting with cabinet members since becoming president and urged his ministers to accomplish their mission with "no apologies or excuses."

Mr. Hadi's meeting came hours after suspected Al Qaeda attackers drove a truck into a Republican Guard camp in the town of Bayda, 75 miles south of the capital, Sana, early on Saturday, a Yemeni security official said.

The town is close to an area seized in January by militants linked to Al Qaeda.

The official said the bombers deceived the guards by bringing in an ox that they said was a present for the camp commander. Once inside, they detonated their explosives.

Two other explosions rocked the southern port city of Mukalla, where officials said assailants placed explosives near the walls of a camp run by Yemen's Central Security, one of the agencies responsible for internal security.

In the city of Zinjibar in southern Yemen, fierce clashes erupted between suspected Al Qaeda militants and security forces; a soldier and five Al Qaeda militants were killed and 12 militants were wounded, medical and military officials said.

Since May, Yemeni forces intent on breaking Al Qaeda's grip have clashed frequently with the terrorist group.

Source: The Associated Press