Story highlights

Killings occurred in Abyan province, state media says

Counterterrorism forces were chasing "the rest of the retreating terrorists"

The killings are part of a broader offensive against al Qaeda

CNN  — 

Twenty-eight suspected members of al-Qaeda were killed Friday in the city of Lord, in Yemen’s Abyan province, in military operations, state media reported.

Counterterrorism forces were chasing “the rest of the retreating terrorists” into the mountains, the SABA news agency said.

The government has said that such military operations will continue in what is its most intense phase of attacks since the February inauguration of Yemen’s new president, Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi.

The military committee, the country’s highest security authority, has said the government will not allow al Qaeda to expand and will use an iron fist against the militants in the country’s southern provinces.

This month, Yemen poured thousands of troops into the country’s south to battle al Qaeda fighters and tighten security, officials said. Yemeni warplanes bombarded al Qaeda hideouts all week in a series of U.S.-supported airstrikes in Abyan and Lahj provinces.

The offensive came after militants killed dozens of troops and seized large quantities of weapons when it raided a military zone. Numerous other Yemeni soldiers were taken hostage, officials said.

Yemen’s al Qaeda movement has expanded its control over parts of the country in the past year, leading politicians to consider the option of dialogue with the militant network.

CNN’s Hamdi Alkhshali contributed to this report