Over 55 die in Yemeni campaign against al Qaeda

Mon, Mar 5, 2012, 00:00

ADEN – At least 35 Yemeni soldiers were killed in twin suicide bombings and ensuing clashes with al Qaeda-linked fighters on Sunday, medical sources said. This continues a wave of attacks that have taken place since a new president took office vowing to fight the group.

The campaign against al Qaeda was a key demand of Yemen’s new leader by Washington, which backed his succession and has waged its own campaign of assassinations by drone strikes against alleged members of the group.

A Yemeni army officer said at least 20 of the Islamist militants also died in the fighting in the country’s south, an unstable territory near oil shipping routes through the Red Sea.

Residents and local officials said cars blew up near military positions at the southern and western entrances to the city of Zinjibar, near the Gulf of Aden. The Yemeni army sent reinforcements to Zinjibar from the nearby port city of Aden after the blasts.

Medics at a military hospital in Aden said the bodies of 35 soldiers had been brought in, and dozens more had been wounded. They said the number of casualties was likely to rise.

The attacks underscore the challenges facing President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi as he tries to stabilise Yemen after a year of protests against his predecessor, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and military infighting that took Yemen to the brink of civil war. – (Reuters)