May 12, 2012
Yemeni armed forces surrounded an al-Qaida-held town in the southern province of Abyan on Saturday, preparing to launch mass attacks on its positions, a military official said.
Infantry brigades of the armed forces imposed a tight siege around the entrances of the al-Qaida-controlled town of Jaar, attempting to drive the terrorists out of Abyan province, the local military official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
"Preparations are completed to carry out a large-scale attack against the al-Qaida hideouts in Jaar town which controlled by terrorists a year ago," the official said.
"Commanders of the army are awaiting the official declaration from the Defense Military to conduct the offensive," he added.
A local resident told Xinhua anonymously that army officials asked them to leave their homes near the al-Qaida-held sites in downtown Jaar.
"Many civilians fled their villages into neighboring provinces of Aden and Lahij for fear of random shelling or air strikes," he said.
Political and social unrest last year has created opportunities for the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch to take several towns and cities in Yemen's south, where government forces and the terrorist group escalated their fighting for almost half a year.