12 killed in clashes between soldiers, al-Qaida militants in south Yemen
Fierce clashes flared between the army troops backed by tribal fighters and al-Qaida militants on Sunday evening, killing at least 12 and injuring dozens of others from both sides in Yemen's southern volatile province of Abyan, a local army official told Xinhua.
The officer said on condition of anonymity that eight a-Qaida militants and four soldiers were killed as well as dozens of others were injured as a result of the continuing fighting between troops of the 25th Mechanized Brigade backed by hundreds of tribal fighters, who joined the clashes against the terrorist group in the al-Qaida-seized Zinjibar city, the provincial capital of Abyan province.
Another officer of the 25th Mechanized Brigade told Xinhua that the brigade launched a campaign Sunday to regain control of Zinjibar city, and a number of mortar shells carried out by the al- Qaida militants hit the brigade, injuring at least 15 soldiers.
He added that several military armored vehicles along with reinforcements arrived in the city to support and strengthen the brigade troops.
Abyan, some 480 km south of the capital Sanaa, is a key stronghold of the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
Gulf countries and the western community fear that unrest could make Yemen as strong footholds for the terrorist groups that would possibly threaten one of the world busiest oil shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, where as many as three million barrels of oil pass everyday.