13 Islamist fighters die in Yemen


ADEN – At least 13 Islamist fighters linked to al Qaeda were killed in clashes with Yemen’s army in the impoverished country’s south yesterday, the government and militants said.

Yemen has launched an offensive against Islamist insurgents 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.

At least seven militants were killed near the southern Yemeni city of Lawdar yesterday, the defence ministry’s news service reported in a text message. Four of the members of the Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law) group were Somalis, it added.

Six militants were also killed in clashes with the Yemeni army in the southern city of Zinjibar, a spokesman for Ansar al-Sharia said. An army official said two soldiers were killed and four others wounded in the clashes.

More than 200 people have been killed since government forces stepped up attacks on the militants whom it accused of assaulting a military camp near Lawdar last week.

– (Reuters)