30 killed in Yemen violence

Aden : As many as 18 soldiers and 12 Al Qaeda militants were killed in armed confrontations during an all- out government offensive in Yemen’s Shabwa province Tuesday, a security official said.

“Dozens of well-armed Al Qaeda gunmen set up an ambush for military convoy in Haban area in Shabwa province, sparking fierce clashes that left 18 soldiers and 12 terrorists killed on the spot, ” Xinhua quoted the provincial security official as saying while requesting anonymity.

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The army troops, with helicopter gunships and tanks, started attacking Al Qaeda hideouts with a large offensive in Abyan’s mountainous region of Mahfad and the town of Azzan in neighbouring Shabwa province early Tuesday.

“Initial intelligence reports coming from the battle ground indicate that dozens of Al Qaeda gunmen were either killed or injured during the large military assault in Shabwa,” the security source said.

The Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has frequently staged revenge attacks on local targets, including military ones, and foreign missions in the impoverished Arab country.

The AQAP, which emerged in January 2009, is considered the most serious strategic threat to the Yemeni government and neighbouring oil-rich Saudi Arabia.