By AHMED AL-HAJ Associated Press
April 19, 2012
SANAA, Yemen—Yemeni military officials and witnesses say ground troops have advanced on the provincial capital of Abyan province with heavy clashes that killed 19 al-Qaida-linked militants.
The officials said Thursday the troops seized a neighborhood in southeast Zinjibar during the first ground operation in the al-Qaida stronghold since the summer. The Defense ministry in a statement said 19 militants were killed.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the operation was still under way.
The military has been waging a wide offensive against militant positions in southern Yemen. Al-Qaida militants have been trying to regain control Lawder, a town north of Zinjibar, after residents chased them out last summer.