Yemeni officials and medics say a fierce battle between government troops and al-Qaida fighters in the country’s south has killed at least 35 soldiers and 20 militants.
They say Sunday’s fighting erupted in Abyan province, when the militants detonated several car bombs and overran a military post in the Koud region near the provincial capital, Zinjibar. Scores were wounded on both sides and the death toll is likely to rise.
Military officials said the insurgents were able to seize armored vehicles, artillery pieces, assault rifles and rockets from the army base they attacked. Some of the heavy weapons were later used against the troops, causing most of the casualties.Al-Qaida militants seized control of Zinjibar last May while the government was pre-occupied with cracking down on nationwide opposition protests against the autocratic rule of then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh.