Yemen says air strikes, troops kills seven militants

May 19, 2012 16:13

ADEN, Yemen - Five suspected al-Qaida militants were killed in air raids in Yemen, and troops killed another two insurgents on Saturday, officials said, in a new US-backed offensive aimed at reasserting control in the south of the country.

An air strike destroyed a vehicle used by militants, killing its two passengers, in the southern province of Bayda, the provincial governor, Mohammed al-Ameri, told a Defense Ministry website.On the outskirts of the southern city of Jaar, which is held by al-Qaida-linked militants, another air strike killed three militants, a local official told Reuters. Many previous air strikes have been carried out by US drones.

"There is heavy fighting, and the armed elements are doing everything possible to stop the advance of troops," the official said, adding government forces were about 1 km (0.6 mile) from Jaar.

The Defense Ministry earlier told journalists in a text message that government forces had killed two militants and captured six others outside Jaar.

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