DHAKA: Yemeni security forces are reported to have carried out air strikes in which 30 suspected al-Qaeda fighters were reported killed in the south of the country.
A Yemeni Red Cross worker was also killed in the air raids as he travelled in the south on a mission to help negotiate the release of a kidnapped French colleague, a relative told AFP news agency.
Yemeni aircraft carried out several strikes on Wednesday, the mayor of Mahfed town on the outskirts of Abyan and Shabwa provinces, Yaslam al-Anburi, told AFP.
"There were 30 deaths in al-Qaeda ranks for sure," al-Anburi said. "Yemeni aircraft carried out a series of raids against concentrations of al-Qaeda fighters, mainly in the Wadi Dhiman and Dayda valleys, killing 30 and wounding many others."
Earlier, a tribal chief said three suspected fighters were killed and four wounded in an air raid targeting a group of al-Qaeda fighters in a desert region between Abyan and Shabwa provinces.
Yemen`s military launched a campaign in May against al-Qaeda in the south which ended more than a year of there control over a string of towns and villages in Abyan and Shabwa.
The group`s fighters are believed to have retreated to safe havens in the mountainous regions of Shabwa, Marib and Hadramawt provinces where they enjoy tribal protection.
BDST: 1005 HRS, JUN 21, 2012
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