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24 militants killed in Yemen

April 9, 2012 at 10:32 AM

SANAA, Yemen, April 9 (UPI) -- At least 24 militants were killed in airstrikes in south Yemen, Yemeni officials reported.

The Defense Ministry said 16 suspected al-Qaida militants were killed Sunday near Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan province, the Yemeni Post reported.

Another eight militants died when a U.S. drone targeted their car, alsahwa-yemen.net quoted a tribal source as saying, the Yemeni Post said.

The Post said the United States is directly aiding Yemen in the fight against al-Qaida and Ansar al-Sharia militants.

Battles have been reported in the north between tribesmen and the Republican Guard in the Arhab district. In the far north, Shiite Houthis and tribes backing the Salafis are fighting in Saada province, the newspaper said.

A Yemeni intelligence officer was assassinated Sunday in the city of Taiz following the appointment of businessman Shawqi Hail Saeed as governor.

Maj. Brig. Esmaeel Ba-Alwi died in a shower of gunfire from motorcyclists who managed to escape.

Former Gov. Hamoud Khalid al-Sufi and other security chiefs in the region were recently removed from their posts, the newspaper said.

Taiz has been a center of opposition to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who stepped down last year after a 33-year rule.

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