Government forces are said to have killed at least five fighters of al-Qaeda's regional affiliate in the Lawdar distrcit of the southern Yemeni province of Abyan. The incident came a day after suspected al-Qaeda fighters attacked a Yemeni security patrol in a market in Abyan and killed 12 soldiers, while five suspected al-Qaeda fighters were killed as well and at least ten were wounded. Three foreigners were among the seven dead al-Qaeda fighters, including one man identified as Adham Shibani, the defence ministry said on Saturday.
Local authorities of Lawdar district, on Saturday, gave 24 hours deadline for the militants of al-Qaeda and other militants affiliated to the southern movement to surrender themselves otherwise the houses they are taking as barracks would be bombarded.
Local sources said that civilians of Lawdar evacuated their homes on Saturday fearing a big battle between the government security and military forces and between the al-Qaeda militants and their militant allies affiliated to the so called Southern Movement, according to the Yemen Observer
The sources said that over 200 al-Qaeda militants supported by around 200 militants affiliated to the southern movement have been controlling the entrances of Lawdar town and its key centers. According to the local sources the military and security forces surrounded the town and hundreds of troopers were deployed to Lawdar after the fierce confrontations between al-Qaeda militants and their allies and the security forces on Friday and Saturday, which resulted in the killing of the 12 soldiers and at least five al-Qaeda fighters.
The sources said that the campaign launched by the government is lead by the Yemeni Minister of Defense himself.
In the city pf Zinjibar, also in the governorate of Abyan, the situation was tense as well, after suspected al-Qaeda (or Southern) fighters killed an officer of the intelligence agency on 16 August. It was the latest in a string of similar attacks that killed at least eight security officers.