At least 32 people have been killed in heavy fighting between the army and suspected al-Qaeda linked fighters in Yemen's southern province of Lahij, officials said.
"Seventeen soldiers were killed in the fighting", which erupted when fighters attacked army positions in al-Mallah, a town in Lahij province, an army officer on the ground told AFP news agency.
Thirteen armed fighters were also reported to have been killed.
Mohammed al-Qadhi, a reporter with Abu Dhabi's The National newspaper, said from Sanaa: "The militants, which are controlling some parts of the southern province of Abjan, have attacked a nearby province called Lahij.
"They made a surprise attack on a military base there and they tried to control this but the army fought back and they have called the air jets to intervene and they were able to push them outside the base.
"This fighting has come hours after the militants claimed responsibility for the attack on a gas pipeline in the southern province of Shabwa and this attack on the pipeline came after US drones carried out strikes yesterday on the militants, killing six of them," al-Qadhi added.
Al-Mallah is adjacent to Abyan province, another suspected al-Qaeda linked stronghold.
A military official told AFP "two army tanks and three al-Qaeda vehicles were destroyed in the fighting, [while] al-Qaeda militants have seized several soldiers."
The attackers targeted the 119th and 201st army brigades, involved in military operations aimed at regaining control over Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan province southeast of Lahij, which the fighters overran last May.
On Friday, al-Qaeda members sabotaged a 320km gas pipeline linking Marib province to Balhaf terminal on the Gulf of Aden, all in the country's restive south.
The pipeline attack came shortly after two US drone attacks in eastern Yemen targeted Al-Qaeda suspects.
Fighters have seized on the political and security turmoil following Yemen's year-long uprising and have taken control of several towns in the south.
|< Prev||Next >|
Other articles in Middle East
Clashes as Bahrain Grand Prix goes ahead 21 April 2013
US approves additional $123m aid to Syria 21 April 2013
Iraqis in first elections since US withdrawal 20 April 2013
Clashes intensify in Bahrain over Grand Prix 20 April 2013
Clashes break out in central Cairo 19 April 2013
Clashes as Bahrain gears up for Grand Prix 19 April 2013
Brahimi gives grim report on Syria stalemate 19 April 2013
Concrete action call ahead of Syria meeting 19 April 2013
Dozens killed in Baghdad cafe explosion 18 April 2013
UN aid chief calls for cross-border Syria aid 18 April 2013
Live Blog: Turkey Protests
Protests at Taksim Square in Istanbul started after trees were torn up to make way for the redevelopment of Gezi Park. ( 16-Jun-2013 )
|William T. Hathaway|
|Fidaa Abu Assi|