Suspected Al-Qaeda fighters have stormed a military base in Yemen's port town of Mukalla, killing at least five soldiers and ransacking its ammunition store, residents and local officials said.

The attack came a day after the militants broke into Mukalla jail and freed scores of prisoners, including a prominent local Al-Qaeda leader, identified by officials as Khaled Batarfi.

Soldiers fled the base after the attack, residents said, and the militants also raided local banks, broke into local government buildings and set fire to the broadcasting station.

Mukalla is a port town on the Arabian Sea, about 500km east of Yemen's southern city of Aden, where Shia Houthi fighters and their allies have been battling fighters loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Mr Hadi fled the city last week in the face of the Houthi offensive, which has continued to advance despite nine days of air strikes by a Saudi-led coalition aimed at driving back the Iranian-allied Houthis and restoring Mr Hadi's authority.

Yemen is grappling with multiple conflicts including a southern secessionist movement, tribal unrest and the threat in its east and central provinces from Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula - a powerful regional wing of the jihadist movement.

The ongoing Houthi conflict with the Saudi-backed coalition and troops loyal to Mr Hadi may have given Al-Qaeda an opportunity to exploit the further disintegration of central authority in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country.

The Houthi offensive has also forced the United States to withdraw personnel from Yemen, halting a covert US drone war against Al-Qaeda militants. 

Meanwhile, two Saudi soldiers have been killed in a gun fight on the country's southwestern border with Yemen.

The deaths come a day after the first Saudi casualty of the conflict was shot in the same area.

An Irish citizen has been evacuated from Yemen and is currently en route to Ireland, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

A spokesperson for the department said that it had provided consular assistance to the individual but declined to give any further details including age, gender or reason for being in Yemen.

Yesterday China evacuated 225 people from 10 different countries from war-torn Yemen.

It is an unprecedented move underscoring the country's growing global reach.

The Chinese missile frigate Linyi brought them to Djibouti.

The evacuees included 176 people from Pakistan, said foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, with the remainder from Ethiopia, Singapore, Italy, Germany, Poland, Ireland, Britain, Canada and Yemen.

She said it was "a humanitarian relief action" taken at the request of "relevant countries".

"It is also the first time the Chinese government has taken special action to help with the evacuation of foreign citizens in dangerous areas," she told reporters at a regular briefing.

The evacuation came after two weeks of fighting between rebel forces and a Saudi-led coalition that has seen hundreds killed.

This morning a Turkish naval frigate evacuated 55 Turkish citizens from the city of Aden, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Twitter.

Aden is the last stronghold of fighters loyal to Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who fled the city eight days ago amid mounting violence with Iran-backed Shia Houthi fighters.

A Saudi-led coalition has hit the rebels with airstrikes over the past week.