Saturday, June 11, 2011

30 people die in fighting with militants in Yemen

Yemen said that his army on Saturday killed 21 members of Al Qaeda in a southern province whose capital city was taken by Islamic militants during the bloody political crisis. Nine Yemeni soldiers were killed in clashes in the Abyan province, whose capital fell Zinjibar Islamist fighters last month, triggering battles that made most of its population fled.

Oil giant Saudi Arabia and Western countries fear that the chaos resulting from such clashes could give al Qaeda a foothold in the impoverished state of the Arabian Peninsula, which extends oil export routes. In a statement sent by text message, the Defense Ministry said its troops had killed 18 "terrorists" in Zinjibar and three in Lawder, another city in the province.

The statement said the army also destroyed weapons and ammunition stores in Zinjibar. State television reported that the clashes continued throughout the province and the residents of an area near Zinjibar said that government forces carried out airstrikes in the city. Even before the protests broke out six months ago demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen was overwhelmed by conflicts with separatists in the south and the struggles regularly with Shiite rebels in the north.

Eight days ago Saleh traveled to Saudi Arabia to undergo surgery for an attack, U.S. officials left him with serious burns. His enemies promise to never return to power and demand that he cede all authority to his vice president, interim president.

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