By Fatik al-Rodaini
SANA'A, May 5, 2012- At least 9 Yemeni soldiers were wounded, on Saturday night, most of them in critical condition, in an attack by al-Qaeda militants in Yemen's southern province of Abyan.
A tribal figure reported that al-Qaeda militants fired three mortar shells on a base of the Yemeni army forces, east of Zinjabar city of Abyan province, wounding 9 soldiers.
Security and military officials said that Yemeni airstrikes killed five militants in the south. Residents in the scene mentioned that 4 Yemeni airstrikes hit al-Qaeda hideouts in Jabal Yesoof district, in the Yemeni city of Abay, killing five and wounding scores of them.
The residents said the airstrikes targeted a training camp for the militants in the district of jabal Yesoof in the southern province of Abyan destroying military equipments and vehicles.
Witnesses in Um Aen stated that they saw al-Qaeda militants fled the scene of the clashes carrying at least 8 bodies of their fighters.
Hundreds of soldiers and Ansar al-Sharea have been killed since last month in Lawder and Modiya towns in Abyan during ongoing battles between the Yemeni army and al-Qaeda militants.
More than 250 people have been killed since government forces intensified a crackdown on the militants who the authorities accused of attacking a military camp near Lawdar last month.
President Abdu Raboo Mansour Hadi, who took office promising to fight al-Qaeda, is also facing challenges from Shi'ite Muslim rebels in the north and secessionists in the south.