Fresh air raids in Yemen kill 12 al-Qaida militants

At least 12 militants of the al-Qaida terrorist group were killed and five others injured on Saturday evening in air strikes by Yemeni air forces in the southern province of Abyan, a government official said.

Two fighter jets raided a location of the al-Qaida insurgents on the outskirts of Lauder town, about 150 km northeast of Zinjibar, the provincial capital of Abyan, killing at least 12 militants and injured five others, the local government official said.

“This was a planned air bombing attack by our air forces against the al-Qaida fighters in Jabel Yaswf area in Luader town,” the official told Xinhua anonymously.

On the same day, the government troops, with support of counter- terrorism units, managed to regain control of large parts of the neighborhoods of Zinjibar city that had been under the al-Qaida’s control for almost one year, according to military officials.

During the fighting, up to 25 al-Qaida militants attacked an army post of the 39th Armored Brigade on the outskirts of Zinjibar in Abyan, sparking a fierce battle that killed eight soldiers and injured 13 others, an army officer told Xinhua anonymously.

U.S. drones and Yemeni warplanes have regularly targeted al- Qaida insurgents in southern Yemeni regions, which were seized by the group in May 2011 following a surge of violence, killing and injuring scores of terrorists.

In recent months, hundreds of militants from the Yemen-based al- Qaida branch, locally known as Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law), are attempting to expand their foothold and take control over the county’s southern regions where central authority has nearly no presence.