230 Yemeni soldiers die in al-Qaida fight

Updated: 2011-09-12 09:51


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ADEN/SANAA - The Yemeni defense ministry announced Sunday that a total of 230 soldiers were killed and 600 others injured in the three-month-long battles with militants of the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) in the southern city of Zinjibar.

"The military brigades of the southern military bases lost more than 230 soldiers in three-month-long fighting with the al-Qaida terrorists in Zinjibar city," Defense Minister General Mohammed Nasser Ahmed said.

More than 50 tribal fighters, who were also engaged in the fighting against the al-Qaida militants, were killed in the battles, according to the ministry.

Meanwhile, official Saba news agency quoted Yemeni Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi as saying that about 30 leading members of the terrorist group were killed in the government forces' campaign to recapture Zinjibar city, the provincial capital of Abyan province, along with other two small towns.

The government troops on Saturday freed the besieged brigade and recaptured Zinjibar city, which has been under the al-Qaida's control since late May.

The government forces have been fighting with al-Qaida militants for more than three months after the terrorists took control of Zinjibar along with other surrounding cities, forcing many al-Qaida militants to flee and search for safer places in neighboring provinces.

An official of the Military Intelligence Agency told Xinhua that "the al-Qaida fugitives were regrouping in neighboring Jaar, Abyan's second largest city, which is still under control of the terrorist group since May."