More than 16 civilians were killed Thursday during clashes between the Yemen army and militants in the country’s southern region.
The army and al-Qaeda have battled for months in Abyan Province over control of the region after the militants took over during last year’s unrest.
In another part of Shaqra’, “Clashes … between al-Qaeda militants and the army, backed by local militiamen, left two soldiers dead and 11 wounded,” the official said, adding that both sides used machine guns. The official spoke to the news agency on condition of anonymity.
The clashes come just a few days after the Yemen army drove militants out of two major strongholds in the south, Jaar and Zinjibar. The group had exploited a security gap that was left during mass protests against the rule of longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh last year.
Other officials with the military and local tribes told The Associated Press that on Wednesday, 17 al-Qaeda fighters were slain in the southern Yemen town of Azzan. Airstrikes that were believed to be from a U.S. drone destroyed a parked car in the town, killing nine of the militants.
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