Gunmen ambushed and killed eight policemen Monday near a gas terminal in southern Yemen, a security official told AFP. The attack took place as the police were driving to a security checkpoint near the Belhaf terminal, in the southern Shabwa province, the official said. "Armed men in two cars opened fire on the policemen, killing them on the spot," the official said. He was unable to identify the assailants or explain their motives. Yemeni security personnel have come under increasing attack in recent months, particularly in the south and east of the country, with authorities generally blaming the assaults on Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has taken advantage of the weakening of the central government since an Arab Spring-inspired uprising in 2011 toppled president Ali Abdullah Saleh after 33 years in power. In September the army said it had foiled a bid to attack Belhaf, the only gas export terminal in Yemen, hours after suspected Al-Qaeda fighters killed 56 soldiers in a coordinated attack in Shabwa. Washington regards AQAP as the global jihadist network's most dangerous affiliate and has stepped up drone strikes targeting the militants.