Yemen soldiers allegedly seize last Al Qaeda stronghold in south
The Yemeni government has allegedly seized control of the last major Al Qaeda stronghold in the country's south, according to Agence France Presse Thursday.
The Defense Ministry announced that "armed and security forces have entered [the Al Qaeda stronghold of] Azzan," located in the country's Shawba province.
The Al Qaeda fighters who usually reside in Azzan allegedly have fled to a mountainous region called Al Koor nearby, according to local government officials in Shawba.
The same official also told AFP that "an agreement was reached between local tribal dignitaries and Al Qaeda, allowing militants to withdraw without fighting in order to spare the city bloodshed and destruction".
The Yemeni government initiated its offensive on the south in late April after a month of U.S. drone strikes on the same region. Both operations are said to be targeting Al Qaeda officials and strongholds. In the latest fighting alone, at least 75 militants and 24 soldiers have been killed.
- Yemen launches mission to free hostages from al Qaeda stronghold
- Yemen: Al Qaeda operatives seize wreckage of unmanned American spy drone
- Dozens killed and wounded in government Al Qaeda offensive in Yemen's south
- Sunni militants target anti-Qaeda leader, kill family Sunday
- Army general and four soldiers killed in Yemen attack