Soldiers at demonstration in Yemen 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS)
ADEN - Yemen's Defense Ministry said the military had killed 21 al-Qaida "terrorists" on Saturday in the southern Abyan province, whose capital, Zinjibar was seized by Islamist militants last month.
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In a statement sent by text message, the ministry said Yemeni forces killed 18 al-Qaida members in Zinjibar, and three in another city in the province, Lawdar. Army troops also destroyed a weapons and ammunition cache in Zinjibar, it said.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the Obama administration has intensified air strikes
on suspected militants in Yemen in a bid to keep them from consolidating power as the government in Sanaa teeters, .
A US official confirmed to Reuters that a US strike last Friday killed Abu Ali Harithi, a midlevel al-Qaida operative, which followed last month's attempted strike against Anwar Awlaki, the leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
Citing US officials, the Times said a US campaign using armed drones and fighter jets had accelerated in recent weeks as US officials see the strikes as one of the few options to contain al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.