Ongoing clashes took the lives of seven Yemeni soldiers and 17 al Qaeda militants in the past two days in the southern province of Abyan, an anonymous senior security official reported on Monday. At least eight soldiers were wounded in the clashes, three of them in serious condition.
Zinjibar and Jaar are the main cities where the fightings are taking place. “Bodies of dead people are everywhere in the streets,” said Qasim Bin Hadi, the head of security in Zinjibar in Abyan, he added that the city has turned into a ghost town, clashes between government forces and al Qaeda militants have not stopped since Saturday.
Airstrikes targeting militant hideouts in Zinjibar and Jaar were behind many of the deaths reported Sunday, informed the anonymous senior security official.
At least 29 injured soldiers from Abyan were admitted at the Republican hospital in Aden since Saturday night, doctors informed. “Most of those admitted to the hospital were injured, but the death toll among security forces will rise over the next 48 hours,” said a medic who requested identity secrecy because of safety matters.
More than 100 influential religious and tribal leaders said on Sunday that President Ali Abdullah Saleh was not able to lead the country and should step down. “Saleh was injured seriously during the assassination attempt on his life. We call on Saleh to hand over powers to his vice president Abdu Rabu Mansoor Hadi, to save the country from further clashes and bloodshed,” said a press release. Saleh is being treated in Saudi Arabia, he will return when he has recovered, officials said. (MS)