ADEN (Yemen) - An air strike killed five Al-Qaeda militants on Thursday in southern Yemen while seven others died in separate incidents in the region where the army has been fighting to recapture territory lost last year, a local official said.
The air raid struck the eastern outskirts of Jaar, a town in Abyan province that is controlled by Al-Qaeda, killing five Islamist militants and wounding three others, the official said.
Two other Al-Qaeda fighters were killed in clashes with local militiamen belonging to the Popular Resistance Committees, who are fighting alongside the army, in the village of Batis, north of Jaar, the official said.
The clashes erupted when the militants attempted to return to the village which they had controlled until they were chased out by the army last week.
And five more jihadists were killed in an ambush near Batis, the official added.
He said the ambush by pro-army militiamen was led by a former Al-Qaeda militant, Abdullah al-Sayed, who defected last year in protest at the presence of "foreigners" in the ranks of the Islamists group.
Yemeni forces launched an all-out offensive on May 12 aimed at reclaiming the Abyan provincial capital Zinjibar and other towns and cities lost to Al-Qaeda during the past year.
Since the beginning of the attack, 423 people have been killed, according to a tally combined from different sources. This includes 315 Al-Qaeda militants, 68 soldiers, 22 local armed men, and 18 civilians.