By Fatik al-Rodaini
SANA'A, April 22, 2012- At least three al-Qaeda militants were killed on Sunday in an air strike conducted by Yemeni air forces in Yemen's eastern province of Mareb.
The air strike took-out a vehicle believed to be carrying al-Qaeda militants on al-Sanda district near Obeida valley, killing at least three passengers.
Witnesses said that the vehicle turned into a charred skeleton along with its passengers.
In Yemen's southern province of Abyan, where fierce clashes between Yemeni troops and militants linked to al-Qaeda, at least 17 militants were killed on Sunday in an air raid near Lawde, about 150 km northeast of Zinjibar, Abyan's provincial capital.
Yemen's Defense Ministry said that the deaths toll it would raise to 57 in the last three days.
On Saturday the Yemeni air force carried out two airstrikes in the province of Abyan against al-Qaeda hideouts, killing scores of militants. According to the Defense ministry, the attacks also left five people wounded.
Yemen's military regained part of a strategic southern city yesterday after an intense battle with al-Qaeda militants left 19 people dead as the government tries to purge the insurgents from their strongholds.
More than 250 people have been killed in the fighting and airstrikes in southern Yemen over the past two weeks. US drones and Yemeni warplanes have regularly targeted southern regions.
The war on al-Qaeda is one of the most challenging tests facing the country's new president Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. He took power after Saleh stepped down in February as part of power-transfer deal brokered by Arab Gulf countries and backed by the United States.