At least 22 militants killed in Yemeni fighting

By REUTERS
May 27, 2012 15:29

ADEN - At least 22 Islamist militants were killed in overnight clashes and an air strike in southern Yemen, where government troops are fighting rebels linked to al-Qaida, a local official and residents said on Sunday.

Around 15 of the dead were killed in fighting north of the militant stronghold of Jaar, a town in Abyan province that has been controlled by the militants since last year.

The al-Qaida-linked Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law) exploited last year's popular protests against former president Ali Abdullah Saleh to capture swathes of territory in Abyan, including the provincial capital Zinjibar.

The expansion of the militants' area of control has unsettled the United States and Saudi Arabia, both targets of failed attacks by Yemen's al-Qaida wing (AQAP), which this week claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in the capital Sanaa that killed more than 100 soldiers.

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