ADEN, Yemen (Reuters) - Yemeni warplanes killed at least six militants linked to al Qaeda on Wednesday, the government said as it pressed ahead with an offensive against insurgents in the south.
Yemen has been struggling to control Islamist fighters in the territory who have taken advantage of the chaos surrounding more than a year of mass protests and fighting that unseated former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The country's defense ministry said it launched an airstrike on a group of militants near the southern city of Lawdar, killing six of them.
Lawdar residents told Reuters one person was also killed and another two injured after mortar rounds hit their houses. There was no independent confirmation of who launched the attacks.
More than 200 people have died since the government of the impoverished Arabian Peninsula state stepped up attacks on the militants who it accused of assaulting a military camp near Lawdar last week.
Islamist insurgents have taken control of a number of cities in the territory which is close to key shipping lanes in the Red Sea.
Yemen's new president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi is also facing challenges from Shi'ite Muslim rebels in the north and secessionists in the south.
(Reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf; Writing by Rania El Gamal; Editing by Andrew Heavens)