Aden: Airstrikes by the Yemeni military killed at least 10 Islamists in southern Yemen on Thursday, a local official said, in the latest episode of fighting with militants who have seized territory in the region.
A local official in southern Abyan province, parts of which are controlled by an al Qaeda-linked group called Ansar al-Sharia, said two strikes targeted Islamists in the village of Umm al-Jabalayn, near the city of Jaar.
Residents of Jaar, which is under the control of Ansar al-Sharia, said they saw members of the group bringing bodies back to the city for burial.
The reported strike is near an area where Ansar al-Sharia last week said it killed at least 20 Yemeni soldiers.
Yemen has a seen a surge in violence in the south since President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi took office in late February, vowing to fight Islamist militants who expanded their footprint during political turmoil over the fate of Hadi`s predecessor.
Mass protests aimed at ending the 33-year rule of Ali Abdullah Saleh, long a key figure in Washington`s "counter-terrorism" plans, erupted in early 2011. The demonstrations were coupled with fighting within an army divided between Saleh`s foes and allies.
Washington, which has said it wants to see Hadi reunify the military to fight Islamists, backed his succession under a deal engineered by oil producer Saudi Arabia, which fears a slide into chaos in Yemen could have effects across its borders.