Al-Qaeda conflict leaves 230 Yemeni soldiers dead, official says
At least 230 Yemeni army soldiers have been killed over the past three months in battles with al-Qaeda in the southern part of the country, Yemeni Defence Minister Mohamed Nasr said Sunday, dpa reported.
"Those martyrs died in the southern military zone in the battles fought to end the siege laid to the 25th Brigade by the rebels," the state news agency Saba quoted the official as saying.
The Yemeni army freed the brigade, besieged in its base by militants suspected of having links with al-Qaeda in Zinjibar, the city capital of the Abyan province, state television reported on Saturday.
According to the news agency, Nasr lauded the "great sacrifices" also made by tribes in Abyan to retake Zinjibar. He was speaking while touring an army camp in Zinjibar.
Since March, Zinjibar has been under the control of Muslim radicals, who declared the coastal city an "Islamic emirate."
The government said the group took advantage of the unrest and the protests against the rule of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh that erupted in February.