Yemen’s armed forces killed 12 suspected Al-Qaeda militants in an assault on their mountain hideout in the country’s restive south, an official in the region said on Saturday.
The military used artillery and aircraft to target the hideout near Shaqra, 35 kilometres (22 miles) from the Abyan capital of Zinjibar, in the operation late on Friday, the official said on condition of anonymity.
Among those killed was Belidi Tawfiq, the brother of one of Al-Qaeda’s leaders in Abyan province, the official added.
Luhishi Hussein, a leader of a paramilitary unit that supports the military against the jihadist network in southern Yemen, said the operation resulted in “more than 10 deaths in the ranks of Al-Qaeda”.
The militants had been holed up in the area after being driven out of cities and towns in the region following a military offensive launched in June last year.
Al-Qaeda took advantage of the weakness of Yemen’s central government during an uprising in 2011 against now-ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh to seize large swathes of territory across the south.