SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemeni military officials say government troops have retaken most of a southern provincial capital from al-Qaida fighters, and are advancing on another militant bastion.
The officials said Monday that the army holds 90 percent of Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan province, which fell to al-Qaida last year. They say 48 hours of fierce fighting left 22 militants and nine soldiers dead.
They say the army is advancing toward Jaar, another town in militant hands for over a year, in a three-pronged attack supported by heavy artillery shelling and air raids.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with military regulations.
Al-Qaida-affiliated militants took advantage of Yemen's unrest in 2011 to seize control of much of the south.