Middle East

Yemen unrest: Militants killed near Lawdar


At least 28 more al-Qaeda-linked fighters have been killed in clashes in southern Yemen, defence officials say.

Fighting in Jebel Yasuf, near the town of Lawdar, is into its third day.

About 150 people have been killed in the clashes between the Yemeni army and militant group Ansar al-Sharia, who attacked an army base south of Lawdar.

Local residents have formed "resistance committees" and sided with the government in a bid to keep militants out of the town.

A senior government official told Reuters that the battle for Lawdar was "a decisive one for the army", adding that 10 militants had also been captured.

Sources say that Lawdar is being besieged by militants from groups linked to al-Qaeda.

The death toll now includes more than 120 militants, 14 soldiers and 11 tribesmen who fought alongside the government.

Islamist militants seized large amounts of territory in Abyan during the political turmoil that led to President Ali Abdullah Saleh handing over power to his deputy, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, in November.

Mr Hadi was elected president in February and immediately said one of his most important tasks was the "continuation of war against al-Qaeda as a religious and national duty".