Yemen officials say 5 militants, coast guard killed

Yemen`s Army has reportedly called on al Qaeda militants to surrender.

Last Updated: Sep 20, 2010, 10:54 AM IST

Aden: Yemeni troops killed five suspected al Qaeda militants and a sniper shot dead a coast guard, both in the country`s troubled south on Sunday, security officials said.

"Two al Qaeda militants -- Khaled and Salem Sabri al-Wuhaishy -- were killed when they attacked a security point in the city of Loder" in restive Abyan province, an official said.

The Defence Ministry`s website said the two were related to regional al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader Nasser al-Wuhaishy, but gave no other details.

Another three suspected militants were killed in the neighbouring Shabwa province later Sunday, and five more were wounded, in clashes with soldiers in Mayfaa, the Interior Ministry said on its website.

It said reinforcements were being flown to the town, the site of fierce clashes over the past two days.

A security official earlier reported two soldiers and three civilians including a child being wounded in Mayfaa.

He said the fighting erupted when Yemeni forces stepped up a campaign to track al Qaeda-linked US-born radical Anwar al-Awlaqi.

Also in Shabwa province, but farther east, an "al Qaeda sniper" killed a coast guard in the city of Balhaf on the Gulf of Aden, a local security official said without elaborating on the suspected al Qaeda involvement.

The Defence Ministry website said yesterday that following last month`s deadly crackdown on al Qaeda in Loder, security forces were "continuing their war" against the militants in Huta, a suburb of Mayfaa.

"The blockade imposed on those elements will continue until those terrorist groups are eliminated," it quoted the provincial governor as saying.

There has been a heavy Army presence in Loder following fierce August clashes between troops and suspected al Qaeda militants in which at least 33 were killed, including 19 militants, 11 soldiers and three civilians, according to a tally.

A security official said yesterday that "Yemen`s Army has called on al Qaeda militants to surrender."

The authorities, who have contended with repeated attacks by al Qaeda against Western and other targets in recent years, have blamed the violence in the south on the jihadists.

PTI