Yemen army retakes part of rebel-held southern city
ADEN, May 23 — Yemeni government troops today recaptured parts of the strategic city of Zinjibar from al-Qaeda-allied militants, the main target of a US-backed offensive against the insurgents in the south, officials and residents said.
Seven militants were killed and one soldier was wounded in gunbattles as the troops won control of Zinjibar's northeastern outskirts, they said.
On another southern front, 14 Islamist militants and three soldiers were killed in fighting in the insurgent-held town of Jaar, the officials said.
The government forces mounted an offensive this month to take back Zinjibar, capital of Abyan province, and Jaar which were seized by al-Qaeda-linked militants last year following protests that led to the removal of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The loss of Zinjibar would be a blow to the insurgents and bolster the morale of the army following a huge suicide bombing in the capital Sanna on Monday which killed more than 90 soldiers rehearsing for a National Day parade.
The United States has become increasingly alarmed at the situation in the country, which it views as being in the front-line of its war on anti-American Islamist militants.
Yemeni officials say US military personnel have been helping to coordinate the offensive and that dozens of trainers are in the country. The United States also frequently carries out drone attacks on the militants. — Reuters