Yemen's president is warning that al-Qaida militants in his country are trying to retake areas they once controlled in the south, but says a military offensive this week helped thwart those plans.

Washington considers Yemen's al-Qaida branch as one of the world's most dangerous. Yemen's military, backed by the United States, routed al-Qaida militants from the southern province of Abyan last year after the group took control there during a period of political turmoil. It was the first time al-Qaida ruled an area in the Arabian Peninsula.

President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi told participants at a conference Saturday that al-Qaida was hoping to repeat the Abyan scenario in the southeastern province of Hadramawt. Thousands of troops backed by air support however have been fighting off the insurgents.