Yemeni government troops seized control Friday of part of an Al Qaeda stronghold in the country’s lawless south after fierce fighting that has left at least 25 militants dead, a military official said.
After launching an attack overnight, the army pushed into the outskirts of Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan province, while the rest of the city remained in the hands of al-Qaeda-linked militants, the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.
Militants have taken advantage of more than a year of political turmoil in Yemen to seize control of large swaths of territory in the country’s south. The U.S. believes Al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch is the most dangerous arm of the terror group because of its repeated attempts to carry out attacks in the United States.
The Defense Ministry said in a statement that government troops had made “a great advance toward Zinjibar.”