Skip to main content

Yemen airstrikes kill dozens of al Qaeda fighters, officials say

From Hakim Almasmari, for CNN
April 3, 2012 -- Updated 2229 GMT (0629 HKT)
Suspected al Qaeda militants man a checkpoint in the southern Yemeni province of Shabwa on Tuesday.
Suspected al Qaeda militants man a checkpoint in the southern Yemeni province of Shabwa on Tuesday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Yemen's air force has been pounding al Qaeda hideouts in the country's south
  • U.S. forces have assisted in at least three of the raids, a Yemeni official says
  • The jihadist network has expanded its reach in southern Yemen in the past year

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- Yemen's air force has killed dozens of al Qaeda fighters in a series of U.S.-supported airstrikes in the country's south, Yemeni officials said Tuesday.

At least 38 suspected al Qaeda militants were killed in continuous raids on jihadist hideouts in Yemen's southern provinces of Lahj and Abyan, three security officials told CNN. But the militants still control key towns linking both provinces despite 48 hours of nonstop bombardment, the officials said.

Aden, the country's business capital and major port, neighbors Lahj province and has been a target for al Qaeda attacks since January.

Al Qaeda websites mysteriously fall silent

"The government does not want Lahj to turn into a launching pad for al Qaeda attacks. Aden will be in danger if the government does not react with force," one official in the province told CNN.

The official said the United States has taken part in three of the airstrikes, but said Yemen's air force is leading the operation. He did not detail the type of support provided.

"The U.S. is involved in a number of the latest attacks, but that does not mean our air force is not in control of the raids occurring," the official said.

A second official said that strikes against al Qaeda will continue throughout the week and that militants have evacuated a number of posts.

Pakistan sentences bin Laden widows

The offensive comes after militants killed dozens of troops and seized large quantities of weapons when they raided a military zone earlier this week. Numerous other Yemeni soldiers are still being held hostage by militants since the attacks, two officials confirmed.

Al Qaeda fighters have expanded their control over parts of Yemen in the past year, leading politicians to consider the option of dialogue with the militant network.

Sheikh Sadeq Ahmar, head of the country's most powerful Hashed tribe, said Monday that he supports talks with the jihadists. And in March, Ali Obaid, the spokesman for the country's highest security authority, told CNN that Yemen's military committee welcomed dialogue with al Qaeda if they accept specific terms, lay down their arms and hand over territory under their control.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
ADVERTISEMENT