11 Yemeni soldiers killed fighting Al-Qaeda
Issued on: Modified:
Fighting intensified in south Yemen on Monday as the army bombarded alleged Al-Qaeda fighters who appear to have seized control of the city of Loder. Many civilians are reported to have fled the city as officials say a top Al-Qaeda operative was killed.
Authorities said that Adel Saleh Hardaba, 27, who they described as the Al-Qaeda second-in-command in the southern city of Loder, was killed in renewed fighting on Monday.
Loder, in Abyan Province, has been gripped by deadly clashes since Friday.
"The army is imposing a tight siege on the city, chasing out Al-Qaeda militants and collaborating gunmen," a security official said, adding that the military had shelled houses used by militants as launchpads for attacks.
He said that many of the militants holed up in the city are believed to be foreigners, notably Saudis and Pakistanis.
At least 29 people, including 11 soldiers, have been killed in clashes which erupted on Friday in Loder. Seven alleged Qaeda militants were killed Sunday, while seven others were killed on Friday.
Witnesses have said that fighting has intensified since Sunday night, after an ultimatum to militants to surrender expired.
South Yemen, and Abyan province in particular, is feared to have become a base for Al-Qaeda militants to regroup under the network's local franchise, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).