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Report: Al-Qaeda kills 16 Yemeni soldiers

Sixteen Yemeni pro-government fighters were killed in separate clashes with Houthi militias and Al-Qaeda fighters in the south of the war-torn country

Published: Updated:

Sixteen Yemeni pro-government fighters were killed on Tuesday in separate clashes with Houthi militias and al-Qaeda fighters in the south of the war-torn country, military sources and officials said.

Forces supporting Yemen’s President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi are fighting both the Houthi militias who control parts of the country including the capital Sanaa and extremists in the south.

Al-Qaeda fighters on Tuesday ambushed an army unit on its way to conduct an operation against an extremist position east of the coastal town of Shaqra in the southern province of Abyan, security sources said.

Local officials said 11 soldiers and 15 al-Qaeda fighters were killed in the attack.

Al-Qaeda fighters seized two military vehicles and weapons, security sources said.

Meanwhile, in the neighboring province of Shabwa, five pro-Hadi fighters including an officer were killed along with nine Houthi rebels near the town of Baihan, loyalist military sources said.

Baihan is held by the Shiite Houthis and their allies, supporters of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Al-Qaeda and the rival ISIS have taken advantage of chaos in Yemen to reinforce their presence in the Arabian Peninsula country.

The incident highlighted the obstacles facing Hadi's government as it struggles to wipe out al Qaeda while simultaneously trying to defeat Houthi fighters in a war that has lasted nearly two years and killed more than 10,000 people.

In August, the Yemeni army drove al Qaeda out of two strongholds in the same region in a campaign in which at least 40 militants were killed.

(With Reuters)