One killed in Yemen as army pursues militants

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 01, 2012 4:15 AM
One killed in Yemen as army pursues militants

ADEN (Reuters) - At least one al Qaeda-linked militant has been killed and nine captured as U.S.-backed Yemeni forces pursue fighters driven from their southern strongholds last month, a local official said on Sunday.

Hundreds of militants from Ansar al-Sharia have been on the run since they were pushed out of towns and cities they had seized during an uprising that forced President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.

Ansar al-Sharia - meaning Partisans of Islamic Law - swears allegiance to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The Yemeni official said the army clashed with a group of 10 militants in Dalea province late on Saturday, killing one and wounding two, who were captured. Another seven were taken unharmed, the official added.

Driving the Islamists from the cities of Zinjibar and Jaar was a major breakthrough in the U.S.-backed offensive aimed at ensuring stability in the wider oil-producing Gulf region.

A Yemeni military official said a U.S. training team had arrived at a base in southern Lahej province.

U.S. officials say President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi - who came to power in February as part of a power-transfer deal brokered by the United States and Gulf states - is more cooperative in the fight against al Qaeda than his predecessor.

(Reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf; Writing by Mahmoud Habboush; Editing by Matthew Tostevin)