SANAA, Yemen, July 30 (UPI) — Clashes between Yemeni government forces and militants have left at least 16 people dead and scores injured, officials said Saturday.
The incidents occurred when government troops fought with tribes outside the capital in Sanaa and elsewhere in the country Friday and Saturday, CNN reported.
Fighting between government troops and militants has increased in the days before the start of Ramadan, a Muslim holy fast that starts Monday and runs through Aug. 29.
A senior official, who spoke anonymously, said five members of a terrorist network and six security forces were killed in Friday clashes in Wadi Dofas. The dead included three soldiers and an officer who led field operations in Zinjibar, Abyan.
The “al-Qaeda militants were killed in the clashes when they were seen trying to secretly enter Wadi Dofas,” the official said. “We are fighting extremists in nine different fronts in Abyan. The militants are witnessing strong blows … at least 100 al-Qaida fighters have been killed in July.”
Fighting in Abyan has been ongoing since May, when suspected al-Qaida militants took control of the province and declared it an Islamic emirate.
A Republican Guard air raid outside the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, left five tribesmen dead and wounded 11 others, tribal leaders said.
Yemen has been the scene of anti-government demonstrations and militant activity for several months. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh is in a Saudi Arabian hospital, recovering from wounds he received in an attack last month.