March 22, 2012
SANAA, Yemen — Navy ships have shelled suspected Al Qaeda positions in the southern province of Abyan, killing 29 militants, military and security officials said on Thursday.
They said the rocket and artillery barrage, spread out over a 24-hour period that ended early Thursday, struck alleged Al Qaeda targets around the city of Zinjibar, Abyan’s provincial capital.
Zinjibar is one of several southern towns captured last year by Al Qaeda militants who took advantage of the country’s political turmoil to seize territory.
The officials also say the militants have killed execution-style a senior security officer who was kidnapped on Wednesday in the town of Mukkala in the southeast Hadramout province. The body of the officer, Lt. Col. Farag Said Ben Qahtan, was found in farmlands following a gunbattle between the kidnappers and security forces trying to rescue him.
Qahtan’s body was decapitated, the officials said. They had no word on the motive behind the kidnapping.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.