yemeni-soldiers-AFP-670
Yemeni soldiers ride on top of a pick-up truck near the town of Jaar, a militant stronghold north of the Abyan provincial capital Zinjibar, on May 30, 2012 as Yemeni forces continued their offensive against al Qaeda loyalists in the south. — Photo by AFP

SANAA: Fierce clashes in the south of Yemen killed at least 23 al Qaeda militants, the Defence Ministry said.

Tuesday's statement from the ministry said fighting between government troops, backed by heavy artillery, and the militants intensified overnight in the northern part of Zinjibar, the provincial capital of Abyan.

The ministry said Pakistani and Somali nationals were among the slain militants.

Also, military officials said clashes erupted in the town of Jaar, another al Qaeda stronghold. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity.

On Monday, two suicide bombers tried to hit army barracks and checkpoints to the east of Zinjibar in an attempt to stop the military from advancing in the south.


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