ADEN, April 2 (BSS/AFP) - Yemen's army shelled Al-Qaeda hideouts in the southern city of Zinjibar, one of the jihadists' major strongholds, killing six militants, a local official told AFP on Monday.
The official, speaking from the nearby town of Jaar where
wounded militants and dead bodies from Zinjibar are usually
taken, said that "a Somali group leader named Abu Bilal" was
among those killed in the late Sunday assault.
The extremists, who go under the name Partisans of Sharia
(Islamic law), have been locked in battles with the army in
Abyan's provincial capital Zinjibar since May 2011, when they
overran the city.
The Partisans of Sharia have exploited a central government
weakened by a year of anti-regime protests to strengthen their
position, launching deadly attacks against security forces
especially in the lawless south and southeast.
On Sunday, the militants killed seven policemen in an attack
on a checkpoint in the southeast while clashes between the army
and the Islamists a day earlier left 40 dead from both sides.
Last month, 185 soldiers were killed in a massive assault by
Al-Qaeda militants on an army camp near Zinjibar.