SANAA, Yemen – Yemeni security forces killed an al-Qaida prominent figure in the latest fighting in an offensive against the militant group in the south of the country, the Defense Ministry said Friday.
The ministry identified the militant as an Egyptian by the nom de guerre of Abu Abdel-Rahman al-Masri, but gave no further details on the circumstances of his death. It said the army has gain control of most strongholds of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula it was targeting in a three-week offensive in the southern province of Shabwa.
Also on Friday in northwestern Yemen, a bomb-laden car hit a checkpoint of Shiite rebels known as Hawthis, killing four of their fighters in Jawf province, security and military officials said.
Also, Hawthi rebels clashed with armed tribesmen from the Islamist Islah Party in the city of Amran, northwest of Sanaa, in fighting that left five rebels and six tribesmen dead, the officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.
Hawthis waged a six-year insurgency in the north, which officially ended in 2010. But the group has recently clashed with Sunni ultraconservatives.
The Hawthis, who belong to the Zaydi branch of Shia Islam, accuse the ultraconservatives of trying to spread their school of thought in their strongholds. Mediation efforts and cease-fires have failed to end the tension in the area.