Ministry: army kills 37 al-Qaeda suspects in south Yemen
A local senior Qaeda member was also killed after a Yemen army’s offensive eliminaed Chechen and Uzbekistani commanders this week
Yemen’s army killed 37 al-Qaeda suspects and wounded dozens on Sunday as part of a major offensive launched in the south of the country last week, Agence France-Presse reported the defense ministry as saying.
The “terrorists” were killed in the Maifaa region of Shabwa province on the sixth day of the operation against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants, the ministry said in text messages sent to journalists.
On Friday, soldiers backed by warplanes killed five suspected al-Qaeda militants in the same area.
The offensive has gathered pace, resulting in the deaths of 67 militants and more than 24 soldiers, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.
Hours ahead of Sunday’s raid, state news agency Saba reported that army reinforcements had been dispatched to Shabwa to “deal with al-Qaeda.”
Meanwhile, Yemen’s al-Qaeda branch said one of its local commanders has died from wounds he suffered during an attack by the Yemeni army and U.S. drones, the Associated Press reported Saturday.
A Twitter account associated with AQAP issued a message saying Ali bin Likra al-Kazimy died Saturday after a military attack on one of its camps in the town of Mahfad last week.
Mahfad, where al-Kazimy was the leader, is located in a mountainous region in the country’s south.
Government officials confirmed al-Kazimy’s death.
The news comes after Yemen’s state news agency reported that Abu Islam al-Shaishani, a Chechnian fighter with a senior role in AQAP was killed Saturday as the country’s forces continue battling the jihadist group.
Earlier this week, another foreign AQAP commander Abu Muslim al-Uzbeki, an Uzbekistan national, was reported killed in clashes with government troops, in the southern province of Abyan.
Yemeni forces, backed by air force jets and allied militias, have been fighting Islamists in the new offensive since Tuesday, mainly in the south where the militants are strongly rooted.
The U.S. considers Yemen’s al-Qaeda branch as the world’s most dangerous.
(With AFP and Associated Press)