Aden: Six Yemeni soldiers, including two
officers, were killed in clashes with al Qaeda-linked
militants near the gunmen-held southern city of Zinjibar
overnight, an officer said on Monday.
The officer from the 119th Artillery Brigade said army
units "fought fierce battles on Sunday night with Ansar
al-Sharia (Supporters of Islamic Sharia law) gunmen connected
to al Qaeda."
"Six members of the brigade were killed, including
Colonel Jamal al-Jaafi, and eight others were wounded," he said to a news agency, adding that the militants had also suffered
He said that air support had been called in and warplanes
hit several areas held by the militants.
Hundreds of gunmen took control of Zinjibar on May 29 in
battles in which some 90 soldiers died.
Officials say the militants are connected to al Qaeda but
opponents of President Ali Abdullah Saleh accuse his
government of exaggerating a jihadist threat to head off
Western pressure on his 33-year rule.
Yemen is the home of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula,
an affiliate of the slain Osama bin Laden`s militant network.
The group is accused of anti-US plots including an attempt to
blow up a US-bound aircraft on Christmas Day, 2009.