Battles between Yemeni Army, al Qaeda leave 20 dead

At least 15 al Qaeda militants and five Army soldiers were killed during battles between Yemeni govt troops and the terrorist group.

Last Updated: May 15, 2012, 22:18 PM IST

Aden: At least 15 al Qaeda militants and five Army soldiers were killed on Tuesday during battles between Yemeni government troops and the terrorist group in the southern province of Abyan, a military official said.

Severe clashes broke out between infantry barracks of the army troops and al Qaeda militants near the insurgents-controlled town of Jaar, leaving at least five soldiers and 15 militants killed, the local military official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The Army troops were still targeting al Qaeda bastions in Haroor and Jabaleen areas near Jaar with rockets and artillery shells, the official said.

Yemeni Naval forces also bombed several checkpoints manned by al-Qaida militants in Jaar`s suburbs, he added, with no immediate reports of casualty figures.

Meanwhile, about 10 pro-government tribesmen who battled al Qaeda militants along with army troops were injured in the fighting around Lauder town, a tribal chief told Xinhua anonymously.

The armed tribesmen managed to regain control over two key bastions captured by al Qaeda fighters in the previous fighting, the tribal chief said.

Earlier in the day, a botched air strike carried out by Yemeni warplanes hit a residential building near a compound used by al Qaeda militants in the insurgents-controlled town of Jaar, killing at least eight civilians and injuring five others, a government official said.
The Yemeni army has been fighting the al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) since the Yemeni and Saudi terrorist wings merged in 2009.
The AQAP has recently tried to tighten its grip in the country by exploiting the unrest and security disorders. The militants seized some towns in Abyan and Shabwa provinces in mid 2011, and the Army has been trying to prevent them from expanding their presence.

ANI