37 militants reported slain in Yemen drive |
Gulf Times - 15 May, 2012
Battles raged yesterday 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 on Sunday, 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 Sunday.
Another tribal source said 10 militants were killed in an air raid yesterday 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.
Meanwhile, suspected Al Qaeda militants responded to the assaults by blowing up a gas pipeline supplying Yemen’s Balhaf export terminal in the Gulf of Aden, a government official said yesterday.
“A gas pipeline was blown up near Mayfaa” in Shabwa province in southeast Yemen late on Sunday, the official there said.
“Al Qaeda blew up the pipeline in response to the raids that targeted it” over the past week.
The attack took place around 20km from the Al Qaeda stronghold of Azzan in Shabwa.