ADEN - Yemen's army and tribal fighters killed nine suspected al Qaeda militants overnight in a southern city where central government control has been weakened by months of political paralysis, residents and local officials said.
Five militants, one of them a Saudi, were killed in shelling and clashes on the northern edge of Zinjibar, which the Yemeni government said it had "liberated" from Islamic fighters in September, an official said.
The Saudi, named Naif al-Qahtani, was a senior member of Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law), a group linked to al Qaeda, said the official. He had travelled to Zinjibar from a neighboring province to take part in the fighting.
Yemen's south has been sliding towards lawlessness and deprivation whilst political wrangling over the fate of veteran President Ali Abdullah Saleh goes on, unnerving oil-giant neighbor Saudi Arabia and Western powers.