11 killed in battles between Yemeni army, al-Qaida in Aden

13:44, June 27, 2011      

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As many as 11 people were killed and 35 others were injured in ongoing battles between the army forces and al-Qaida militants in the eastern edge of Yemen's main port city of Aden on Sunday, a provincial military official told Xinhua.

"Three soldiers, six al-Qaida militants and two passers-by were killed in trading shelling in the eastern entrance of Aden on Sunday as well as another 15 soldiers and about 20 al-Qaida elements were wounded," the official said, requesting anonymity.

The al-Qaida militants have stationed outside Al-Alamkey entrance of Aden since a week ago, trying to invade the port city, said a local official.

Yemen has been gripped by five-month-long protests across the impoverished Arab state, demanding long-time president Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down. Prolonged impasse triggered deteriorating in security and economic situations.

Gulf countries and western community fear that Yemen's unrest could make it as the strong footholds for the terrorist groups that would possibly threaten the busiest oil shipping lanes in the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea, where 3 million barrels of oil pass everyday.

Meanwhile, a source close to the militants told Xinhua that "a large numbers of al-Qaida supporters, including non-Yemeni nationals, were heading from the provinces of Abyan, Marib, al- Bayda and Shabwa to help defeating government forces in Aden."

Late in May, the Yemen-based al-Qaida wing took over all parts of southern Abyan province and declared the provincial capital city of Abyan as the capital city of its "Islamic Emirate" in a statement the group read in front of local residents.

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