ADEN: Twelve suspected members of an al-Qaeda-linked group and two Yemeni soldiers were killed in clashes near the gunmen-held southern city Zinjibar, an army officer said on Sunday.
“Twelve of the Ansar al-Sharia terrorists were killed and three wounded after Artillery Brigade 119 targeted a group planting explosive devices on the main road,” the field officer told AFP.
He said two soldiers were killed and three wounded when gunmen attacked an army base in the area.
Hundreds of men who officials say are connected to al-Qaeda took control of Zinjibar on May 29 after battles with the Yemeni army in which 140 people died, including about 80 soldiers.
But opponents of President Ali Abdullah Saleh accuse his government of exaggerating a jihadist threat to head off Western pressure on his 33-year rule.
Yemen is the home of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, an affiliate of the slain Osama bin Laden’s militant network. The group is accused of anti-US plots including an attempt to blow up a US-bound aircraft on Christmas Day, 2009.