HATAT, Yemen – Yemeni troops attacked an Islamic militant group's mountain hideout Wednesday, killing 10 militants and wounding dozens of others after negotiations for their surrender fell apart, officials said.
The military had been surrounding the hide-out for days, seeking the surrender of gunmen who fled there after attacking a military medical convoy last weekend, wounding seven soldiers.
The gunmen belonged to the Aden-Abyan Islamic Army (search), a group sympathetic to Al Qaeda that has been linked to last year's attack on a French oil tanker off the coast that killed one crewman.
The government has been negotiating through local clan leaders with the group, holed up near the village of Hatat, 280 miles south of the capital, San'a (search). The group was refusing to surrender, a clansman involved in the talks told The Associated Press.
On Wednesday, the military assaulted the hide-out, firing artillery and Katyusha rockets (search), military officials said.
A Yemeni military official said members of the U.S.-trained special forces had also been deployed in the mountains. The official spoke on condition of anonymity.
Earlier, the militants were said to have offered to surrender in exchange for the handover of "the killers" of Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, the top lieutenant in Yemen of Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden (search).
Al-Harethi was killed last year by a missile strike on his car by a U.S. Predator drone (search). It was not clear whether the militants sought the Americans involved with the drone or Yemeni informants.
The Aden-Abyan group is also known for kidnapping 16 Western tourists in 1998; four of the tourists died in a botched rescue attempt by soldiers.