Clashes in Yemen between the army and militants killed at least 13 suspected militants and four troops Saturday, military officials said.
The officials said the fighting started in the early hours when a suicide car bomber attacked a military camp in the city of Al-Qatn in the southern province of Hadramawt. Militants then assaulted the camp, prompting a gun battle that lasted for more than an hour that killed 10 suspected militants and four troops.
The army also fired artillery at a nearby home believed to hide fighters, killing three suspected militants inside, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.
Fighting between the army and the attackers in Qatan carried on “until dawn,” while military planes flew overhead, residents contacted by telephone said.
The US considers Yemen’s Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula the most active branch of the group in the world. The US provides assistance to Yemen’s security forces and carries out drone strikes in the country against suspected militants.
The group is active across several parts of Yemen, taking advantage of a collapse of central authority during a 2011 uprising that ousted veteran president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
On Saturday morning “traffic in the city was almost at a standstill after a terrible night,” worsened by a power cut, one resident said.
Attacks on the army are frequent in Qatan, where three soldiers and six insurgents died on August 17 during four hours of fighting after the army attacked a house where Al-Qaeda fighters had barricaded themselves in.
In Shibam, a historic town also in Hadramawt province known as the Manhattan of the Desert, three suspected Qaeda fighters died on Saturday when the army bombarded the house where they were holed up, another military official said.
Source : agencies