Aden (Yemen), June 3 (Xinhua-ANI): Yemeni troops clashed with dozens of al-Qaida militants in the southern province of Abyan, leaving at least six terrorists killed on Sunday, the defense ministry said.
The government forces repulsed an attack by al-Qaida fighters on the eastern edge of Zinjibar, provincial capital of Abyan province, sparking deadly clashes that left about six terrorists killed, the country's defense ministry said in a brief statement posted on its website.
Several members of the al-Qaida terrorists group were also injured in the confrontations, the ministry said, quoting a military official.
An army officer told Xinhua anonymously that al-Qaida militants still hold neighborhoods of the Zinjibar town.
"The al-Qaida militants have planted land-mines and deployed well-trained snipers. They are trying to stop the advance of the armed forces toward Zinjibar," the army officer said.
Local residents said that fighter jets pounded two al-Qaida- held sites in the coastal city of Shakra on the Gulf of Aden, with no immediate reports of casualties.
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 almost no presence.
The Yemeni armed forces with support of U.S. military advisers have recently increased assaults against al-Qaida bastions in southern regions, as part of an offensive to uproot the terrorists from areas they overran during the one-year political turmoil in Yemen. (Xinhua-ANI)