SANAA, Yemen, June 5 (UPI) -- At least eight people were killed in a Yemeni military offensive against al-Qaida in the southern eastern province of Hadramout, officials said Wednesday.
"Our battle today with terrorism is crucial. We must wage it deservedly whatever the sacrifice may be," the country's official state news agency SABA quoted President Abdu Rabbo Mansour Hadi as saying Wednesday, hours after the operation began. Hadi said he sent a letter congratulating the security and military leadership participating in the offensive.
Military officials told SABA seven al-Qaida operatives and one army officer were killed, and others injured. Storerooms of weapons were destroyed and explosives seized, along with motorcycles and vehicles used by al-Qaida operatives, the news agency said. Soldiers continued hunting down al-Qaida operatives who fled to adjacent farmland.
The offensive came a day after the Yemeni Cabinet approved the move, saying it would restore security and stability in the country, SABA reported.
At dawn, troops backed by tanks and helicopters began the operation about 20 miles east of the port city of Mukalla, Middle East Online reported. The military operation is aimed at wiping out pockets of al-Qaida gunmen in the area. The Yemeni army was also deployed in Ghayl Bawazir, Ash Shihr and the village of Qara, security officials said.
Since June last year al-Qaida operatives were reported to have regrouped in the Hadramout region after being driven out of the southern province of Abyan, Middle East Online said.