ADEN, (Xinhua): Intense fighting broke out between units of the Yemeni army and dozens of al-Qaida militants Sunday, killing at least three troops and injuring two others in the flashpoint southern province of Abyan, an army officer said.
Units of the 119th Armored Army Brigade clashed with the al- Qaida militants in the Bajdar neighborhood, east of Zinjibar, the provincial city of Abyan province, the army officer told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
"The army units were trying to make progress into the al-Qaida stronghold," he said, adding that "the army troops countered strong resistance and heavy fire by the terrorists."
The al-Qaida heavy fire impeded the army forces' progress into the neighborhood, according to the army officer.
Abyan, some 480 km south of the capital Sanaa, has been the scene of daily fierce fighting after hundreds of militants from the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) captured Zinjibar and at least three other towns in May.
Yemeni military forces took back the control of Zinjibar in September, but heavy clashes are still rocking the region.
The AQAP group has stepped up attacks on government troops in Yemen's lawless south, exploiting turmoil in a country convulsed by 10 months of protests against the 33-year rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.