Yemeni forces have killed a suspected local al-Qaida chief in a clash at his house in the southern province of Abyan.
A Yemeni soldier died and another was wounded when troops stormed the residence of an alleged insurgent identified as Abdullah Hubaibat, on the outskirts of the town of Loder. Two other jihadist suspects were wounded in the firefight while a third was arrested.
The raid is the latest event in a series of attacks against terrorist groups. Government forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition entered Abyan’s capital Zinjibar last month and have recaptured other towns across the province.The Arab coalition battling Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen has also been providing government troops with air cover throughout their war against al-Qaida and the Islamic State group. In addition the United States has carried out numerous drone strikes against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) operatives in Yemen.
In the meantime, an army colonel and four soldiers were killed and 19 wounded in clashes with the rebels since Sunday on the frontier between Lahj and Taiz provinces in southwest Yemen, according to a military official. Taiz province is mostly controlled by the rebels and their allies, while Lahj is one of five southern provinces that coalition-backed government forces recaptured over the summer.
The coalition began its military campaign in March 2015 against the rebels after they closed in on President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in his refuge in the southern port city of Aden. More than 6,600 people have been killed since the coalition launched its intervention, most of them civilians, and at least 3 million people have been displaced, according to the United Nations.