14 June 2011
Sanaa. The Yemen-based al-Qaida wing said that they held 10 hostages of government troops late Monday during battles in the southern province of Abyan, a local official told Xinhua.
"The al-Qaida militants, also known as Mujahedeen, announced through loudspeaker in their stronghold of Abyan's city of Jaar that they captured 10 soldiers on Monday evening and killed hundreds of government soldiers during fight over the past few days," the official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
In their statement, the militants claimed that one of their fighters died of gunshot during Monday clashes, the official added.
The terrorist group has apparently taken advantage of the absence of security forces which were preoccupied with dealing with the five-month-old unrest demanding the resignation of country's embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The group tried to infiltrate another southern city port of Aden, where a security official told Xinhua that al-Qaida militants began to assassinate senior officers there - the same tactic it launched over Abyan months ago.
The continuing battles forced around 30,000 residents to flee their homes to the port city of Aden, according to initial statistics by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Government forces have waging intensified battles against the terrorist group since two weeks ago after the latter seized two largest Abyan's cities of Jaar and Zinjibar, about 480 km south of the capital Sanaa.