Yemeni military takes control of al-Qaida stronghold, kills suspected operatives

Yemen's Defense Ministry says its forces have seized an al-Qaida stronghold in the country's south after a dayslong offensive that left dozens of suspected militants and troops dead.

The ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that the armed forces backed by pro-government tribesmen swept through the center of the Mahfad district located in the rugged mountain areas between Abyan and Shabwa provinces. The district came under successive air strikes over the past weeks that targeted the sprawling al-Qaida base, which included a training ground and weapons storehouses.

The ministry said that al-Qaida bombed a government complex before they fled the center of the district at dawn.

Along with the offensive, the military is reaching out to tribes in the areas of Abyan and Shabwa to expel al-Qaida militants.