7 soldiers, 17 al-Qaida militants killed in clashes in south Yemen

13:20, June 21, 2011      

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At least seven soldiers were killed on Monday during fighting with al-Qaida militants in Yemen' s southern province of Abyan, a local army officer told Xinhua.

Meanwhile, 17 al-Qaida militants were killed by the army forces on Sunday clashes, the country's defense ministry said.

Al-Qaida militants stepped up its attacks at the army units stationed in the west of Zinjibar city, killing five soldiers along with two high-ranking army officers, the officer said on condition of anonymity.

Another seven wounded soldiers are receiving treatment at the military hospital of Basuhib in Aden, a local medic told Xinhua.

On May 28, the militants took over all parts of southern Abyan province and declared its provincial capital city of Zinjibar as the capital of its "Islamic Emirate" in a statement the group read in front of local residents.

A number of Yemen's southern and eastern provinces experienced during the past two months a rampant presence of the al-Qaida, which was exploiting the turmoil of the country.

The group aims at seizing Red Sea Strait of Bab el-Mandab and the international shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden, according to their statement.

Source: Xinhua
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