March 28, 2012
ADEN, Yemen (Xinhua) -- Four al-Qaida militants were killed late Tuesday during an intensive army shelling on their hideouts in the southern province of Abyan, an army officer told Xinhua Wednesday.
The army barracks of the 201st Armored Brigade launched a heavy bombardment on two areas in the northern suburbs of Zinjibar city, the provincial capital of Abyan, where dozens of the al-Qaida insurgents were hiding, killing at least four militants, the army officer said on condition of anonymity.
A local leading member of the terrorist group was killed, the officer said, adding that the attack caused huge damages to the al- Qaida fortifications and some arms caches in the region.
Al-Qaida militants who took advantage of the conflicts in the country have seized several towns in Abyan and Shabwa provinces after severe fighting with government troops backed by U.S. drones. The Zinjibar city has been under al-Qaida control for nearly a year.
In January 2009, al-Qaida affiliates in Saudi Arabia and Yemen officially merged and formed Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula ( AQAP).
The group, mainly entrenching itself in Yemen's southern provinces of Abyan and Shabwa, is on the terrorist list of the United States, which considers it as an increasing threat to its national security.
The AQAP underscores the challenges faced by Yemen's new President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi who won support from major Yemeni political forces, the United States and Saudi Arabia.
Hadi is tasked with restoring security and stability to Yemen and putting an end to growing influence of al-Qaida that threatens the daily oil shipping routes in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.