SANAA, Yemen – Clashes in southern Yemen have killed five al-Qaida militants and one pro-government tribal fighter in the past 24 hours, a military official said Saturday.
The official said the fighting took place around the town of Shoqra in Abyan province, part of an ongoing government campaign against the militants. The military also raided homes in the area looking for suspected al-Qaida fighters, the official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity, in line with government regulations.
He said another two tribal fighters and two soldiers were wounded.
The military and local tribes often fight alongside one another in joint efforts to keep al-Qaida out of towns and villages.
Government forces retook Shoqra from al-Qaida militants in May. The militants captured the town last year, taking advantage of the turmoil caused by a popular uprising. The offensive that ultimately drove them out was coordinated with U.S. military experts based at a southern Yemen air base.
The United States considers al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the terror network's offshoot in Yemen, to be the group's most dangerous and active branch.
Separately in the eastern Marib province, witnesses say military airplanes dropped leaflets warning residents against offering shelter or safe haven to al-Qaida and calling on them to give information about the militants.