Yemen Army gains in fight against Al-qaeda |
Arab News - 19 May, 2012
Yemeni troops advanced yesterday toward the city of Jaar, a bastion of Al-Qaeda in the south of the country where five militants were also killed in clashes with tribesmen, local and military sources said.
“Armed forces have made notable advance west of Jaar” and are near a ammunition depot controlled by Al-Qaeda in the vicinity of the city, the military source said.
The advance comes a day after troops took control of the city of Loder in the Abyan province.
Yemeni forces launched an offensive last Saturday to capture Al-Qaeda controlled areas in the province of Abyan. Apart from controlling Loder and Jaar, the group controls Zinjibar, capital of the province, and also Shaqra, located on the Gulf of Aden.
Meanwhile, five members of the group were killed in clashes with armed men of a tribe who wanted to prevent them from passing through their village, northwest of Jaar, a local official said.
Since the offensive began last Saturday, 169 people have been killed, according to a tally compiled by AFP, including 116 Al-Qaeda fighters, 23 military personnel and 17 civilians.
According to Western diplomats in Sanaa, US experts advise the Yemeni Army in their battles, but Washington does not recognize this participation, or the drone attacks against Al-Qaeda, although it is only they who have such devices in the region.
Air strikes on Al-Qaeda targets have increased since the launch Saturday of the offensive against the extremist group and after newly elected President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi vowed to fight the network.
A force of around 20,000 soldiers from all regions in the south are believed to be engaged in the operation.
They are backed by the local militias that, since the ouster of veteran leader Ali Abdullah Saleh, have thrown their support behind the military.