Yemeni troops battle al-Qaida militants in south

Yemeni officials say their troops are fighting al-Qaida militants in a strategic southern city, and that 19 people have been killed so far.

Yemeni military officials say government forces Saturday liberated the eastern part of Zinjibar from al-Qaida-linked fighters.

The group took control of the city as well as other territory during last year's uprising by Yemenis against the former president. The new Yemeni government has been trying to displace al-Qaida from these towns and cities.

A medical official said 12 al-Qaida militants and seven troops died in the clashes. The militants turned a kindergarten in the nearby town of Jaar into a field hospital to treat their injured.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.