ADEN - A roadside explosion killed 12 civilians and wounded four in southern Yemen on Monday when a bomb targeting a military car hit their vehicle instead, a security source said.

"The bomb was planted on a road in the Qaataba district of Daleh province and hit a civilian vehicle instead," said the source, who requested anonymity as he was not authorised to brief the press.

Along with most of southern Yemen , Daleh is controlled by government forces loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, who is backed by an Arab military alliance led by Saudi Arabia in a war against Iran-backed Huthi rebels. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has exploited years of conflict between the government and the rebels to expand its presence in Yemen , particularly in southern provinces. The militant group regularly targets military outposts in the south. Yemeni special forces trained by the United Arab Emirates and backed by the United States this month launched a major operation against Al-Qaeda in the southern Shabwa province.

The UAE is a key component of the coalition which intervened in Yemen in 2015, when Hadi fled into exile as the rebels threatened to overrun his last stronghold. The militants are thought to have moved farther south into neighbouring Abyan province, which almost borders Daleh.