Yemen clashes kill 40 al-Qaida militants in south

June 15, 2012
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A poster of Yemen's former President Ali Abdullah Saleh lies on the ground as army soldiers and tribesmen loyal to the army gather on a tank in front of the local authority compound in the city of Zinjibar, Yemen after they retook the city from al-Qaida militants, Thursday, June 14, 2012. Airstrikes and clashes intensified in southern Yemen on Wednesday as army troops followed major victories with more pressure on al-Qaida militants holding small towns, according to tribal and military officials. The attacks came a day after Yemeni forces regained control of two major al-Qaida strongholds, Jaar and Zinjibar, which were in the hands of the militants for more than a year. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen says government troops have killed 40 militants in a push to rout al-Qaida fighters from the last town under militant control in the southern Abyan province.

A Defense Ministry statement says the militants died overnight and early Friday in fighting between the provincial capital of Zinjibar and Shoqra to the east.

The offensive on Shoqra comes just days after Yemeni forces regained control of Zinjibar and the town of Jaar, which have been under al-Qaida's control for more than a year.

A military official says that during the Shoqra fighting, an airstrike hit a home and killed four members of the same family late on Thursday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.