18 killed as Yemeni army battling al-Qaida gunmen

ADEN: About 14 gunmen of the Yemen- based al-Qaida offshoot and four army soldiers were killed during fierce armed confrontations in Yemen’s southeastern province of Hadramout early on Saturday, a military official told Xinhua. “A group of well-armed al Qaeda gunmen launched an attack on two barracks of the Special Security Forces stationed in Qatan region of Hadramout province, sparking fierce armed clashes that left about 14 gunmen and four soldiers killed,” the local military official said on condition of anonymity. “Warplanes of the Yemeni air force participated in the gunbattle and bombed a number of suspected al-Qaida-held sites in Qatan region,” the military source said, adding that the fighting lasted more than two hours. Meanwhile, an al Qaeda suicide bomber slammed his explosives- laden car into an army checkpoint in the same region, injuring several army soldiers at the scene, according to army commanders. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, also known locally as Ansar al-Sharia, which emerged in January 2009, is considered one of the greatest threats to the Yemeni government and neighboring oil-rich Saudi Arabia. 

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Aaj Kal