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Al-Qaida demands release of terrorists in swap for 73 captured Yemeni soldiers

(Xinhua)

11:02, March 08, 2012

SANAA, March 7 (Xinhua) -- The Yemen-based al-Qaida wing on Wednesday proposed to the Yemeni government the release of its jailed members in exchange for 73 government soldiers captured during fighting in the southern Abyan province four days ago, said a statement obtained by Xinhua.

"Mujahedeen (holy warriors) demands the Yemeni government to release their followers from Yemeni intelligence prisons in exchange for saving the lives of 73 government soldiers whom we had captured in battles against the Yemeni troops in Abyan province four days ago," the statement said.

The battles erupted Sunday morning after twin suicide bombing attacks targeted two military bases of the Yemeni army forces in the outskirts of Abyan's provincial capital city of Zinjibar and in nearby coastal town of Dovas, leaving at least 130 soldiers killed. Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi on Monday raised emergency alert level in the military to the maximum amid deadly attacks by al-Qaida in the country's southern provinces, according to security officials.

Also on Monday, Hadi announced that his government is determined to confront terrorism with full force, according to the state Saba news agency.

"We determined to confront terrorism with full force... and whatever it takes, we will continue to hunt terrorists down to their final hideout," Saba quoted Hadi as saying.

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