Yemini military: Town seized from al-Qaida

February 2, 2013 - 3:31 PM

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — The Yemeni military says it has wrested control of a southern town from al-Qaida fighters after three days of clashes that killed 17 people.

Military officials say 12 al-Qaida fighters were killed and five soldiers and members of local tribes fighting alongside the army died in the clashes. Local militiamen had joined the military offensive to push al-Qaida out of the mountainous al-Maraksha in Abyan province.

Tribal sources say the al-Qaida fighters fled al-Maraksha Saturday to East Ahwar, about 80 kilometers outside the Abyan provincial capital of Zinjibar.

All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information.

Last year, Yemen's army, backed by the United States, drove militants out of southern areas that al-Qaida had seized during Yemen's 2011 uprising.