SANAA - Yemeni security forces killed three militant leaders on Tuesday when they stormed a house used by al-Qaida for making bombs, the interior and defense ministries said.

Yemen, a US ally, has been in turmoil since a popular uprising ousted veteran ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh in February and is struggling to suppress a lethal insurgency, with the backing of Washington.

Army and security forces raided a house in the southern province of Aden at dawn, killing three militants in clashes that went on for almost two hours, the Interior Ministry said. Four soldiers were wounded.

"A large amount of various explosives was found in most of the rooms in addition to booby-trapped gas cylinders and cars ready to be used in suicide attacks and weapons including a rocket and explosive belts," the Defense Ministry website quoted a security source as saying.

Yemen, which borders top oil exporter Saudi Arabia and lies on major world shipping lanes, is home to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, a group viewed by Washington as the most dangerous branch of the militant network established by Osama bin Laden.

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