SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemeni security officials say gunmen attacked a military checkpoint in the eastern province of Hadramawt, killing three soldiers and wounding four.

The officials say the attack occurred early on Friday in the town of Coton, a hotbed for al-Qaida militants. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.

The security officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak to reporters.

Yemen’s civil war began with the 2014 takeover over of the country’s north and central regions by the Iranian-backed rebels who drove out the internationally recognized government from the capital, Sanaa.

Months later, in March 2015, a Saudi-led coalition launched its air campaign to prevent the rebels, known as Houthis, from overrunning the country’s south.

Al-Qaida and other militant groups have exploited the chaos.