Yemeni security officials say a suicide bomber has attacked a checkpoint manned by civilian fighters outside a southern town, killing six.

The civilian militias, known as Popular Committees, have fought alongside the military to oust al-Qaida from their towns and villages.

Khaled al-Fayadi, a resident of the town of Mudya, says the checkpoint was attacked by armed men and five minutes later an explosives-laden car approached the checkpoint and blew up.

Security officials say the six killed in the attack are all civilian fighters from the town in Abyan province.

Al-Qaida has carried out attacks to avenge a U.S.-backed army offensive against the group's strongholds amid the chaos of last year's popular uprising.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.