By Fatik al-Rodaini
SANA'A, May 4, 2012- At least 12 al-Qaeda militants were killed on Friday in clashes between tribesmen fight along with Yemeni troops and militants linked to al-Qaeda group in Yemen's southern province of Abyan, which has been the scene of fierce clashes for more than a month.
A tribal figure reported that the clashes took place in the southern town of Lawdar, saying that the tribesmen destroyed two vehicles and killed 12 al-Qaeda fighters, who were attempting to storm the south entrance to the town in the province of Abyan.
"During the attack four civilians were wounded when two mortar rounds fired by al-Qaeda militants fired toward Lawder city,'' a resident in the scene stated.
Yemen's Defense Ministry reported on Thursday night that at least 8 al-Qaeda militants were killed, and several others were wounded in a battle in the southern province of Abyan.
The ministry said that the Yemeni army repulsed an attack by al-Qaeda militants in the southern city of Zinjibar.
Meanwhile, at least 17 militants linked to al-Qaeda were killed in air strikes and clashes in the south on Thursday morning.
A leader in an army-allied tribal force said that four militants from Ansar al-Sharea were killed during clashes with tribesmen near the southern city of Lawdar.
Five more militants were killed by a Yemeni airstrike outside the same city on Thursday morning, a security official added.
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.
Taking advantage of the one-year-long political conflicts in Yemen, al-Qaeda militants in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), locally known as Ansar al-Sharea, has taken control of several cities and swathes of land across the restive southern provinces.
Al-Qaeda's branch in Yemen is considered one of the terror group's most dangerous. Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's (AQAP) was formed in January 2009 by a merger between two regional offshoots of the international Islamist militant network in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.
The militants 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.
In a separate development, according to local news websites, Yemen's Interior Ministry put security and military apparatus on alert for potential attacks by al-Qaeda militants in the Yemeni capital, Sana'a.
The websites mentioned that reinforcements were deployed on Friday around foreign embassies and other sensitive targets to be protected from al-Qaeda attacks.
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.