Yemen regains control over Qaida-stronghold city in south

16:25, August 25, 2010      

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Yemeni security forces have regained control over the southern al-Qaida's stronghold city of Lodar following five days of ferocious battles, killing at least 12 gunmen, the country's interior ministry said on Tuesday.

"Al-Qaida militants have been expelled from the Lodar city of the southern province of Abyan," the ministry said in a statement posted on its website, citing Deputy Interior Minister Saleh Hussein al-Zuari.

"Security forces have totally controlled the Lodar city while searching for more terrorist elements out of the city," he said.

Meanwhile, the Defence Ministry said in a statement that "security services are determined to destroy al-Qaida organization in Lodar, where the latter took it as a haven."

At least 27 people, including 15 soldiers and 12 al-Qaida militants have been killed since the battles began on Friday, according to security official sources.

Thousands of local residents have fled the city, where dozens of houses and public facilities were destroyed during the five-day fighting and scores of al-Qaida militants escaped the city, a provincial security official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Abyan province is thought to be a stronghold of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula after it has witnessed a series of deadly attacks allegedly carried out by the regional terrorist wing since earlier this year, leaving dozens of security personnel dead or injured.

Yemen has intensified security operations and air raids against terrorist groups, after the Yemen-based al-Qaida wing claimed responsibility for a failed Christmas Day attempt to blow up a U.S. passenger plane bound for Detroit last year.

Source: Xinhua


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