10 Yemeni soldiers injured by al-Qaida mortar shells

10 Yemeni soldiers injured by al-Qaida mortar shells

Militants of the al-Qaida terrorist group fired three mortar shells on a base of the Yemeni army forces in the southern province of Abyan on Saturday, injuring at least 10 soldiers, a military official said, Xinhua reported.

The rockets landed on a battalion of the 201st Armored Brigade on the outskirts of Zinjibar, the provincial capital of Abyan, seriously injuring at least 10 soldiers, the local military official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

"All of the projectiles were fired from the an al-Qaida-held mountain near the Bajdar neighborhood in Zinjibar's suburbs where army troops stationed since two weeks," the official said.

"Two high-ranking army officers visited the military base shortly before the rocket attack to inspect the operations against the al-Qaida group in Zinjibar front," he added.

A spokesperson of the al-Qaida confirmed to Xinhua the attack, saying that "we would not stop firing mortar shells and launching overnight attacks on the positions of the puppet army."

Meanwhile, a government official told Xinhua anonymously that fighters jets of the air forces have been waging intensified air strikes on Saturday against the al-Qaida group in Abyan.

"Up to eight terrorists were killed in Saturday's air raids near the Lauder town," the official said, adding that "air bombing on the al-Qaida militants will continue during the upcoming hours. "

During a graduation ceremony for military officers on Saturday, Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi pledged to continue the fight against al-Qaida terrorists and unify the divided army.

Taking advantage of the one-year-long political conflicts in Yemen, the resurgent al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), locally known as Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law), has taken control of several cities and swathes across the country's restive southern provinces.

The AQAP, mainly entrenching itself in Yemen's southern provinces of Abyan and Shabwa, is on the terrorist list of the United States, which considers it as an increasing threat to its national security.

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