Fierce clashes between Yemeni troops and Al-Qaeda militants in the southern province of Abyan have killed 28 people, two of them soldiers, military and local officials said on Monday.
After hours of fighting the army captured a munitions factory in the Abyan town of Jaar and found the bodies of 12 suspected Al-Qaeda fighters, a military official said.
Al-Qaeda had seized the army-owned factory in a previous round of fighting and it was bombed several times by government troops in their attempt to snuff out the jihadists.
A helicopter raid on Al-Qaeda positions in Jaar, meanwhile, killed six jihadists, a local official said.
In the nearby town of Shaqra, where many of the local Al-Qaeda leadership are believed to be hiding, clashes between troops and militants killed eight fighters, a military official said.
Two soldiers were killed and 13 others wounded northwest of Jaar, while four others were wounded in the Shaqra clashes, the official said.
Yemeni forces launched an all-out offensive on May 12 aimed at reclaiming towns and cities lost to Al-Qaeda during the past year, including Abyan’s capital Zinjibar.
Since the launch, 485 people have been killed, according to an AFP tally combined from different sources. This includes 368 Al-Qaeda militants, 72 soldiers, 26 local armed men and 19 civilians.