Middle East

Yemen airforce raids suspected Al-Qaeda positions

People walk past graves that were dug for soldiers killed in the Wadi Hadramout region in northeastern Yemen, at a military cemetery in Sanaa August 10, 2014.(REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

ADEN: Yemeni warplanes launched a series of raids Sunday against suspected Al-Qaeda positions in Hadramawt province, a hotbed of jihadist attacks on troops, a military official said.

The raids on the outskirts of Qoton coincided with a visit to the town in southeast Yemen by Defense Minister Gen. Mohammed Nasser Ahmed to inspect troops preparing to launch an offensive against the growing jihadist presence in Hadramawt, the source said.

The military official said the raids caused casualties but could not provide a toll.

During his tour, the defense minister vowed his forces will "avenge the 15 soldiers executed" by Al-Qaeda Friday after they were seized near the Hadramawt town of Shibam, according to another army official.

On Thursday, 11 suspected Al-Qaeda militants and four Yemeni soldiers were killed in attacks on two army posts in Qoton and Sayun, a jihadist stronghold in Hadramawt.

The army had reinforced its positions in Hadramawt ahead of the anticipated operation against militants in the province.

On Wednesday, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for several attacks in the south and southeast of Yemen that killed 20 soldiers.

The group is active across several parts of Yemen, taking advantage of a collapse of central authority during a 2011 uprising that ousted veteran President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

In late April, the army launched a ground offensive against AQAP in the southern provinces of Shabwa and Abyan.





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