A Yemeni military official says government forces have launched an assault on an al-Qaida stronghold in a southern town, leaving eight militants dead and 12 wounded.
The military offensive comes just days after al-Qaida carried out a daring weekend attack on an army base, killing nearly 200 soldiers.
The official said Yemen's military hit al-Qaida positions with artillery and bombs in the town of Jaar in the southern province of Abyan. Al-Qaida militants seized the town several months ago, taking advantage of Yemen's internal political turmoil.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.
Also Thursday, tens of thousands demonstrated across Yemen, demanding that the new president restructure the army and purge loyalists of the former ruler.