Battles today raged in Yemen’s southern city of Zinjibar as the army intensified its drive to crush al-Qaeda militants,with tribal sources reporting 37 jihadists killed in two days of fighting.
A government official said meanwhile that suspected al-Qaeda fighters blew up a gas pipeline in southeast Yemen late yesterday,in retaliation for the latest attacks on their positions.
“We can hear from Aden the sound of shelling in Zinjibar,” said a resident in Yemen’s main southern city,which is about a 30 minute drive from Abyan’s restive provincial capital.
AFP could not directly reach sources in Zinjibar as telephone lines there were cut,but a tribal source coming from the city said that 21 jihadists had been killed since yesterday.
Another tribal source said 10 militants were killed in a today air raid on Al-Qaeda hideouts in the coastal Shaqra area.
Six others died in another raid on their positions in the outskirts of Loder,also in Abyan,a source from the Popular Resistance Committees battling al-Qaeda militants alongside the army said.
Yemeni forces on Saturday launched a multi-pronged assault aimed at recapturing Zinjibar,held by the jihadists for a year.