Yemen says 18 militants killed in al-Qaida-held area

ADEN - Yemeni troops have made advances in an offensive against al-Qaida-linked militants near the southern city of Zinjibar, killing 18 insurgents, the Defence Ministry said on Friday.
It said on its website that the militants were pushed back on Thursday from several positions near Zinjibar, capital of Abyan province, a stronghold of Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law), a group affiliated with al-Qaida.
Yemen slipped into a state of chaos after the outbreak of protests more than a year ago that ousted former president Ali Abdullah Saleh under a deal brokered by Gulf neighbors.
On Thursday, the ministry said six militants were killed in Zinjibar and seven in Lawdar, another town in Abyan.
More than 200 people have been killed since government forces stepped up attacks on the militants whom it accused of assaulting a military camp near Lawdar last week.