SANAA, Yemen — Yemeni tribal and security officials say a suspected al-Qaida attack on a checkpoint in a southern province has killed five soldiers and wounded four others.

They say the attack took place late Tuesday in Ahwar district in Abyan province and targeted Security Belt forces — fighters trained and financed by the UAE, which is part of a Saudi-led coalition battling the country's Houthi rebels.

The officials spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media and the tribal leaders for fear of reprisals.

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, as the Yemeni affiliate is known, has long been considered the global network's most dangerous branch and has attempted to carry out attacks on the U.S. mainland.

Yemen was plunged into a civil war in March 2015.