Monday, April 9, 2012

Al-Qaida attacks army base in southern Yemen, 23 killed

Yemen division 20120311(wikipedia)
ADEN, Yemen, April 9 (Xinhua) -- Al-Qaida militants attacked a military base of the Yemeni army on Monday morning in the southern province of Abyan, leaving 23 people killed and dozens of others wounded, a security official told Xinhua.

"During the fighting between al-Qaida and government troops in an army base in Abyan, 11 government soldiers and 12 terrorists were killed and dozens of others from both sides were wounded," the local security official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The al-Qaida offensive sparked deadly clashes with the army troops of the 111th and 119th Armored Army Brigades positioned in the outskirts of Lauder town, about 150 km northeast of Zinjibar, the provincial capital of Abyan, he said.

The militants were attempting to overrun the Lauder town, but the government troops, with support of pro-government tribesmen, foiled the al-Qaida attack, the official said.

Fierce fighting still continues between the two sides in the region, he added.

"Dozens of the al-Qaida insurgents were armed with RPGs, heavy machine guns and grenades. They want to seize the Lauder town. But tribal fighters and the soldiers could defeat them," a tribal chief told Xinhua anonymously.

"But we fear that al-Qaida may launch suicide bomb attacks against our checkpoints in retaliation after the deadly clashes," the tribal chief said.

Taking advantage of the one-year-long political conflicts in Yemen, the resurgent Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), locally known as Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law), has taken control of several cities and swathes across the country's restive southern provinces. Yemen's newly-elected President Abd- Rabbu Mansour Hadi said fighting the AQAP tops his daily agenda.

On Sunday, Yemeni-U.S. joint air raids bombed al-Qaida hideouts in Abyan province, killing at least 16 militants, the defense ministry said on its website.

The warplanes also launched another strike on al-Qaida targets in neighboring province of Shabwa, killing up to eight militants. However, the terrorist group denied anyone of its fighters were killed in the Shabwa air raid.

U.S. drones and Yemeni warplanes have regularly targeted the AQAP in southern Yemeni regions, which were seized by the group in May 2011 following a surge of violence, killing and injuring scores of terrorists.

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