Al-Qaeda members launched an attack on a security post in Yemen's eastern province of Marib on Thursday, leading to the deaths of three militants and two policemen, officials said.
The clashes took place near an oil field at Safer in Marib, where tribal fighters had sabotaged an oil pipeline on Tuesday, according to security officials and tribal sources.
"A group of al-Qaeda members in two vehicles... attacked a security post in Marib... where they clashed with security forces, causing the death of two police and three al-Qaeda elements and wounding others," said the official.
A similar statement was issued on the defense ministry's 26sep.net news website, saying "a number of al-Qaeda terrorists attacked the security post while the policemen were having their lunch."
"The police also captured one of the cars in which they found machine guns," and those in the other car fled carrying several wounded militants, it quoted a ministry official as saying.
Yemen's tribes have targeted oil pipelines in the past to protest against policies by the regime, which is facing growing street protests across the Arabian Peninsula country calling for its ouster.
Meanwhile, Yemen's security services arrested two al-Qaeda members, including a local chief of the extremist network, in Taez south of the capital, a security official said.
"Yemen's security services arrested Khaled Saeed Baterfi and Amer al-Lahji at a security checkpoint in Taez," the official said, identifying Baterfi as a leader of al-Qaeda in its stronghold southern province of Abyan and Lahji as a militant.
Baterfi had replaced Jamil Nasser Abdullah al-Ambari, who figured on a list of the government's most wanted militants before he was killed in an air raid in March last year.
Yemen is the ancestral homeland of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and has been the scene of several attacks claimed by the group on foreign missions, tourist sites and oil installations.
The Arabian Peninsula country, a major U.S. ally in its fight against the network, is also grappling with anti-regime protests, a secessionist movement in the south, and a northern rebellion.