Yemeni military backed by warplanes and heavy artillery launched an assault on the al-Hurur region of Abyan province at dawn Sunday killing at least 30 al-Qaeda militants and destroyed nearly a dozen tanks and vehicles mounted with rocket launchers seized by the militants in the area last year, usatoday said.
The al-Qaeda-linked fighters fled by foot out of the towns they have occupied as Saleh's successor and former deputy, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, stepped up campaign against al-Qaeda's branch in Yemen after assuming office in February in a U.S.-backed power transfer deal.
White House’s top counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, hailed Hadi’s efforts to stabilize the country saying the new Yemeni leader was making ‘historical decisions during these critical times in modern day Yemen.’
But 12 government troops were reportedly killed when they engaged militants in a battle around the provincial capital of Zinjibar and in the town of al-Code. The army was trying to claim control of areas surrounding the capital to prevent activities of militants firmly entrenched in the heart of the city.
Al-Qaeda's Yemeni branch, known as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, was responsible for the attack on an American airliner in Detroit in December 2009 with an ‘underwear bomb’ and the sending of printer cartridges packed with explosives to Chicago-area synagogues in 2010.