Yemeni soldiers killed in firendly fire
AT least 25 soldiers have been killed in a friendly fire incident and clashes with militants linked to al-Qaeda in south Yemen, security officials say.
The officials said some of the soldiers were killed in a strike by the Yemeni air force that mistakenly hit a school in the southern town of Zinjibar.
State television, however, cited an unnamed military official denying that soldiers were killed in a friendly fire incident.
Hundreds of militants from the al-Qaeda-linked Partisans of Sharia (Islamic law) group overran Zinjibar in May, and it has been the scene of bitter fighting.
One military official told AFP the air strike on the school killed a large number of soldiers.
"Al-Qaeda militants then attacked the school after the air strike and killed even more soldiers," he said, adding that at least 25 had been killed at the school.
Officials at the military hospital in the nearby port city of Aden said they were unable to confirm the deaths as their ambulances could not reach the location because of "intense fighting" between soldiers and militants.
Zinjibar, the capital of the Yemen's troubled southern Abyan province, and at least three other towns in the area were overrun by militants in May.
Since then, troops have been battling to regain control of the region.
Saturday's fighting came a day after one of al-Qaeda's top leaders in the Arabian Peninsula country, US-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaqi, was killed in an apparent US drone strike.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has taken advantage of nearly nine months of sweeping unrest against President Ali Abdullah Saleh to bolster its presence in the restive south and east Yemen, launching regular attacks.
In other unrest, a seven-year-old girl was killed when a rocket struck near a school in al-Akama neighbourhood, in the centre of Sanaa, witnesses said.
The source of the bomb was not clear, but clashes had erupted in north Sanaa between troops from the First Armoured Division, led by defected General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, and forces from the Central Security that is loyal to Saleh.
Eight people were wounded in the gun battle which took place in a busy market area at a junction between Hail street and al-Zubairi street, witnesses and medics said.
Protests have raged since January in the impoverished country demanding the ouster of Saleh who has been in office since 1978.
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03-Oct-2011 11:37 AM
04-Oct-2011 01:22 AM
It is not a good time for puppet armies:
6 Somali soldiers killed in Mogadishu
Somali soldiers take their positions during fighting with al-Shabab fighters in southern Mogadishu.
Six Somali soldiers have been killed after bitter clashes broke out between unidentified masked gunmen and the transitional government forces in Mogadishu, Press TV reports.
The Somali troops died on Monday after the armed men carried out a surprise attack on a military base of the transitional government troops in Mogadishu's northern district of Karan.
An intense battle broke out in the aftermath of the attack with the two sides exchanging heavy gunfire and barrages of mortar shells.
Fifteen Somali soldiers sustained injuries as a result.
The gunmen later fled the scene, and their whereabouts remain unknown.
“Six soldiers were killed and several others wounded after masked gunmen attacked a government military base on Monday,” a military officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Press TV.
Somalia has not had a functioning government since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.
The Somali government has struggled for years to restore security but efforts have not yet yielded results in the nation.
04-Oct-2011 01:29 AM
Yemen power vacuum brings al-Qaeda nearer
A female protestor shows her hand painted red and writing in Arabic that reads, "our blood is fuel for our revolution," during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
SANAA: Despite the death of Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni-American cleric who served as a propagandist for aspiring jihadists, Yemen's battle against al-Qaeda is far from complete.
Security forces fought at the weekend against Islamic militants who control large swaths of territory in the restive south. In Zinjibar, a city captured in May by Islamic fighters linked to al-Qaeda, about...20 soldiers were killed in fighting at the weekend, local security officials said.
Dozens more militants were killed by air strikes elsewhere in Abyan province, they said, including one that hit a school in the city of Jaar that was being used by the militants as a base.
The government admitted on Sunday that Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, a Saudi bomb-maker who was reported to have possibly been killed in the air strike against Awlaki on Friday, was not among the dead...As factions vie for control in Sanaa, al-Qaeda's rising power will be a challenge for any future government as well as for Saudi Arabia and the US, the militant group's principal international targets.
The President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has ruled for 33 years, has faced months of street protests, challenges to his power from a rival clan and a defected army brigade, and international pressure to step down.
Some outlying provinces have fallen out of government control, while in others fighting continues between the authorities and their foes. The chaos has created a security vacuum that al-Qaeda has proven ready to exploit.
In Shabwa province, where Awlaki's family comes from, residents say tribesmen linked to al-Qaeda control large swaths of territory and maintain checkpoints as if they were the governing authority.
In Abyan, abutting Shabwa to the south-west, Islamic militants first seized Jaar in March, raiding its banks and taking over government buildings. From Jaar they moved south to take over the coastal provincial capital, Zinjibar, in May.
Locals in Jaar and Zinjibar said security forces fled...Until July, the government, preoccupied with unrest in the capital and elsewhere, seemed to pay little attention to Abyan. Only one brigade, with an unclear allegiance, fought militants there. For months, the brigade, led by General Muhammad al-Somli, was trapped by the militants in a sports stadium outside Zinjibar, during which it received at least one air drop of supplies from the US. In July, the government began to launch air strikes against the militants, and last month it sent reinforcements from Aden to free General Somli's brigade and retake Zinjibar.
The government claimed three weeks ago it had recaptured Zinjibar but clashes continue inside the city.
On Saturday, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed credit for fighting security forces in Zinjibar, as well as for a series of bomb attacks on government buildings in Aden last month.