Last updated: 5 January, 2012

10 dead as Yemen troops and Al-Qaeda suspects clash

Yemeni troops backed by warplanes clashed Thursday with suspected Al-Qaeda militants in the restive south in fighting that killed 10 people, military and civilian administration sources said.

Four soldiers were killed and 10 wounded in the fighting on the eastern and northern outskirts of the city of Zinjibar, controlled by Al-Qaeda-linked Partisans of Sharia militants, a military source said.

The troops were backed by warplanes, and heavy artillery was also used in the fighting, the source said.

Six Islamists were also killed and eight wounded, a civilian administration source said, adding that three vehicles were used to evacuate the casualties to a hospital in nearby Jaar.

Residents in the region said the fighting erupted in the afternoon and that blasts and gunfire could still be heard in the early evening.

Zinjibar is the capital of the southern Abyan province, a stronghold of Al-Qaeda, and has been the scene of frequent fighting between troops and Islamist militants since May.