Monday, April 16, 2012

10 al-Qaida militants killed in air strikes in Yemen's south

ADEN, Yemen, April 16 (Xinhua) -- Yemeni air forces bombed three sites held by al-Qaida militants in the southern province of Abyan on Monday, killing at least 10 militants and injuring nine others, a security official said.

Fighter jets of the air forces pounded three al-Qaida-held posts in the mountainous areas near Lauder town, about 150 km northeast of Zinjibar, the provincial capital of Abyan, the local security official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The air strikes also hit a compound believed to be used by al- Qaida militants in Lauder's suburbs that has been under the group' s control for around seven days, the official said.

The wounded militants had been taken to a nearby al-Qaida-run hospital in the insurgents-controlled town of Jaar in Abyan, he added.

A field commander of the army forces near the scene told Xinhua anonymously that "a squad of al-Qaida operatives who were preparing to launch suicide attacks against the troops were targeted Monday."

Local residents told Xinhua that "military planes have been flying over our town before it fired about four rockets on al- Qaida positions."

Dozens of tribesmen in the southern town of Luader, in support of the government forces in the area, have been intensely battling the al-Qaida group since last week, leaving over 200 people killed.

In recent months, militants of the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch have carried out assaults and deadly suicide bombings against government troops across the country's lawless southern regions.

Hundreds of al-Qaida militants have built up strongholds in the impenetrable mountains in Abyan and Shabwa provinces, seizing control over several regions in the south where central authority has nearly no presence.

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