Yemeni military officials say fresh clashes between government troops and al-Qaida fighters in the south have killed 22 militants and seven soldiers.

The officials say the fighting around the town of Bajidar in Abyan province lasted until Wednesday morning. The town was captured more than a year ago by the militants who exploited the political turmoil during Yemen's popular uprising.

The officials say government jets and heavy artillery pounded militant positions around the provincial capital Zinjibar and Jaar, also under al-Qaida's control. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

The fighting comes just days after a suicide bombing in the capital Sanaa killed nearly 100 soldiers. Al-Qaida claimed responsibility for that attack.