At least 31 police and soldiers were killed Friday in a chain of attacks on security installations in southern Yemen, the Defense Ministry said.

At least eight police recruits died in the first attack when suspected Al Qaeda militants attacked a police compound in Shabwa province, the ministry said in a statement.

The assailants also took four recruits prisoner and stole four police vehicles, a security spokesperson said, adding that the victims belong to the Interior Ministry's special forces unit.

In the second attack, a suicide car bomber targeted a military compound in Rothom district, killing 16 soldiers.

Soldiers' gunshots, meanwhile, stymied another suicide car bomber on the road linking the provinces of Shabwa and Hadhramaut.

The attacker was headed for a liquefied natural gas export terminal run by French multinational Total in the coastal town of Balhaf, the ministry said.

The statement also confirmed that two near-simultaneous attacks on military compounds occurred along that same route, but without indicating if there were any casualties.

A security spokesperson, however, told Efe that seven soldiers were killed in those two attacks. EFE