Officials say Yemen clashes kill 34 militants, soldiers

By REUTERS
May 19, 2012 18:57

 
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ADEN, Yemen - At least 22 al-Qaida-linked militants and 12 Yemeni soldiers were killed in clashes and air strikes overnight during a new US-backed offensive against insurgents in the south of the country, officials said on Saturday.

Fighting erupted late on Friday and carried on into Saturday on the outskirts of the southern city of Jaar, held by Islamist militants, who have stepped up their campaign during months of political turmoil.

Government troops, backed by US drone strikes, have been trying to push the insurgents out of strongholds in the south of the country, which lies near oil shipping routes through the Red Sea.

Washington and Yemen's neighbor Saudi Arabia both fear the instability in Yemen could give al-Qaida's regional wing a stronger foothold in the region.

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