“Heavy fighting broke out between the army and al Qaeda gunmen when troops advanced towards the city to storm it,” said a military official, giving a toll of nine soldiers dead and at least 10 wounded. - Reuters (File Photo)

ADEN, Yemen: Heavy clashes between troops and suspected al Qaeda gunmen at the entrance to the southern Yemen city of Zinjibar left 15 people dead, nine of them soldiers, the military and medics said Tuesday.

The fighting erupted when troops advanced on Zinjibar, capital of Abyan province, as they prepared to storm it in a bid to wrest it back from the control of suspected al Qaeda militants, who overran it on May 29.

“Heavy fighting broke out between the army and al Qaeda gunmen when troops advanced towards the city to storm it,” said a military official, giving a toll of nine soldiers dead and at least 10 wounded.

One medic confirmed the toll of soldiers while another said that “Al-Razi hospital in (the nearby town) Jaar received the bodies of six al Qaeda gunmen while four wounded militants were also brought in.”

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