The Yemeni military killed 43 al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula fighters in air and artillery strikes in an area where 17 Yemeni troops were executed by the terror group just last weekend. From The Associated Press:
Yemeni government forces regained control of a strategic gateway in the south on Tuesday after intense, three-day shelling of al-Qaeda hideouts in the area that left 43 militants dead, military and medical officials said.
The military had stepped up attacks and air strikes against al-Qaeda in the mountainous area of al-Rahha in the southern province of Lahj, a strategically important region that links the south with Yemen’s northern cities.
The offensive followed two consecutive surprise attacks by militants on Yemeni army bases in the area.
The military officials told The Associated Press that the government forces are trying to reclaim key cities in Aden and Abyan provinces in the south that have been overrun by al-Qaeda. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The Al Rahha area in Lahj is near Al Milah, a Yemeni official told The Long War Journal. AQAP fighters overran a military checkpoint in Al Milah last weekend, killing 17 soldiers and losing 13 of their own.
US drones may have participated in the airstrikes, according to The Yemen Post :
Army aircrafts with the support of US drones bombed al-Qaeda whereabouts in the southern province of Lahj, killing at least 38 militants and wounding dozens others over the last 48 hours, local security source told Yemen Post on Tuesday.
The Yemen Post did not say if the US drones actually fired missiles, but did state that they provided “support.”
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