SANAA, Yemen — Yemeni military officials say they have pushed back al-Qaida militants from taking control of a key city after a lengthy battle that left 44 people dead.
The clashes erupted Monday after the militants attacked a Yemeni army post in the city of Lawder in Abyan province, where al-Qaida fighters are active.
Residents and military officials say 24 militants and 14 soldiers, including a colonel, were killed in the clashes. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with military rules.
Jihad Hafeez, a member of an anti-al-Qaida civilian committee in Lawder, says six of his men were also killed.
Al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen has exploited a year of political turmoil to seize territory in the south of the impoverished Arab nation.
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