At least 17 suspected al-Qaeda members and two policemen have been killed in two days of clashes in Yemen’s Aden, the southern city serving as the government’s temporary base, security sources said on Sunday.
Clashes resumed on Sunday after a short period of calm overnight in the central Mansura district, a stronghold of jihadists.
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Warplanes and Apache helicopters from a Saudi-led coalition have carried out air strikes in support of security forces, security sources said.
“At least 17 al-Qaeda fighters and two policemen have been killed since yesterday,” a security official told AFP, adding that most of the jihadists were killed in air raids.
Dozens of gunmen in balaclavas carrying the al-Qaeda flag deployed to push back police trying to enter the neighbourhood, witnesses said on Saturday.
The police said in a statement that fighting against the “armed terrorist gangs in Mansura will continue to ensure the safety of residents” in Yemen’s main southern city.
Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group have taken advantage of the conflict between Iran-backed Houthi insurgents and pro-government forces to reinforce their presence in the south, including in Aden.
More than 6,100 people have died — half of them civilians — since the coalition launched air strikes against the Shiite rebels and their allies in March 2015, according to the UN.