Al-Qaeda takes control of Yemen’s southern city of al-Houta

At least 29 were killed in clashes between al-Qaeda and security forces in Lahj province

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Al-Qaeda took control on Friday of Yemen’s southern city of al-Houta, following heavy clashes with security forces, Al Arabiya News Channel reported, citing security sources.

Earlier, AFP quoted a security official as saying that clashes in south Yemen between security forces and armed groups, including al-Qaeda militants, as well as separatists killed 29 people.

Fierce gunfights erupted when armed men attacked police centers in Lahj, north of Aden, the official said.

He said 29 people, including 27 members of the security forces, were killed.

Al-Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Sharia militants took part in the fighting alongside other armed “outlaws,” said the official, in an apparent reference to southern separatists.

Earlier, another security source said five people, including two police, were killed in the clashes, adding that the southern separatists attacked security forces.

Al-Qaeda is active in southern Yemen where separatists demand secession of the regions of the formerly independent South Yemen from the north.

President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi has taken Aden as a base after fleeing last month a house arrest in Sanaa under Shiite Huthi militia.

[With AFP]

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