Sources: 16 dead in Yemen violence
Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) — At least 16 people died when Yemeni government forces clashed with tribes outside the capital and militants in a restive southern province, sources said.
The deaths occurred during intensified fighting between the government and militants ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan that starts Monday, the official said.
In southern Yemen’s Abyan province, five members of the terror network and six security forces were killed in the Friday night clashes in Wadi Dofas, according to a senior security official. The official did not want to be named because he is not authorized to talk to the media.
Among those killed were three soldiers and a colonel who led field operations in Zinjibar, Abyan.
“Five al Qaeda militants were killed in the clashes when they were seen trying to secretly enter Wadi Dofas,” the official said.
“We are fighting extremists in nine different fronts in Abyan. The militants are witnessing strong blows,” the official said.” At least 100 al Qaeda fighters have been killed in July.”
Clashes in Abyan have been ongoing since May, when suspected al Qaeda militants took over the province and declared it an Islamic emirate.
The militants call themselves “Ansar Sharia,” and say that their mission is to spread Islamic law in Yemen.
Outside the capital of Sanaa, a Republican Guard air raid killed five tribesmen and wounded 11 others, tribal leaders said.
This is the latest in ongoing clashes between government forces and tribal leaders for power in the Arhab district.
The district is a strategically important area because the country’s international airport is located nearby. The Yemeni Interior Ministry had no comment about the latest fighting.
Yemen has been beset for months by anti-government ferment and militant activity. Its president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, is recovering at a Saudi Arabian hospital from wounds he received in an attack last month.
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