SANAA, Yemen, April 12 (UPI) -- Fierce battles between Yemeni military forces and suspected al-Qaida militants are raging in southern Yemen, the defense ministry said.
The Yemeni government last week warned that al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula was planning an assault on the nation's capital. A member of the ruling General People's Congress survived an assassination attempt north of Sanaa and AQAP was accused of bombing an oil pipeline in Shabwa province in southern Yemen.
Emad al-Minshibi, an AQAP leader, was killed alongside foreign fighters from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Somalia in southern Abyan province, reports Bloomberg News, citing Arabic-language statements from the Defense Ministry.
Yemen is struggling to maintain security following last year's political turmoil that persuaded long-time President Ali Abdullah Saleh to sign a deal to end his tenure in exchange for immunity from prosecution. His vice president, Abdu Rabo Mansour Hadi, took control of the country after winning a one-man election in February.
Some political figures in Yemen threatened to join the southern secessionist movement after Hadi's victory.
The CIA is suspected of conducting air raids over Yemen as part of an effort to combat AQAP.