Yemen army claims advances against al-Qaeda militants in south
The Yemeni army has regained partial control of a volatile southern town from militants linked to al-Qaeda, the Defence Ministry said on Sunday, dpa reported.
The army has made major advances into Zinjibar, the capital of the southern Abyan province, the ministry's website reported, citing military officials.
Zinjibar has been in the scene of an offensive by government forces against Islamist militants who have controlled much of the town for more than a year.
Senior radical leaders affiliated to al-Qaeda were killed in a series of attacks by the army, military officials said.
At least 17 insurgents were killed in an air raid at the weekend near the town of Laudar, which is located on a strategic road north of Abyan, the Defence Ministry reported.
President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi, who took office in February, has vowed to fight al-Qaeda, calling it a "religious and national duty."
Insurgents with suspected ties to al-Qaeda have widened their influence in southern Yemen, taking advantage of a weak central government and a year of political turmoil in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country.
In a separate incident, a French man working for the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) was kidnapped in western Yemen, an ICRC spokeswoman in Sana'a said.
He was kidnapped on Saturday near the coastal city of al-Hudaydah, from where he was due to fly to the capital Sana'a.
The man is part of the ICRC team in the northern city of Saada.