3 yemen troops ambushed by qaeda suspects found executed
Last Updated : GMT 06:32:30
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3 Yemen troops ambushed by Qaeda suspects found executed

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today 3 Yemen troops ambushed by Qaeda suspects found executed

Aden - AFP

Suspected Al-Qaeda jihadists have executed three Yemeni soldiers theycaptured in an ambush of an army convoy backing an offensive against extremiststrongholds in the south, a security official said Wednesday. "Residents found the bodies of three soldiers, bearing marks of torture, near a roadintersection in Ataq," the official said, referring to the capital of Shabwa province insouth Yemen.Yemen's security forces on Tuesday launched an offensive against militant bastionsin Shabwa and neighbouring Abyan provinces, with 36 people -- 21 soldiers and 15extremists -- killed so far, according to an AFP tally Wednesday compiled fromseveral sources.The three men executed were among 15 soldiers captured by militants duringTuesday's ambush near Al-Saeed, one of several towns in Shabwa province targetedin the offensive by Yemeni troops, who are backed by tribal militia, the official said.The militants were armed with machineguns and rocket-propelled grenades whenthey seized a troop carrier with the soldiers inside and destroyed three othervehicles, army sources said.The abductors released two soldiers hours later, after "severely beating" them, thesecurity official said, adding that the fate of the other 10 troops remains unknown.After the three bodies were discovered Wednesday the army made a "tacticalwithdrawal" from Al-Saeed, the official said.In Abyan province, meanwhile, three Al-Qaeda militants were killed and 10 woundedWednesday when the army shelled the towns of Sannaj and Maajalah, an armyofficer said.The launch of the ground offensive followed intense US and Yemeni air strikes onsuspected Al-Qaeda targets last week that officials described as "unprecedented".The air strikes killed 55 suspected militants in Abyan, three in Shabwa and 10 inBaida province further north, where three civilians also died, according to officials.Military commanders are seeking to expel the jihadists from a string of small townsand hill districts in Abyan and Shabwa, where they retained a presence after a 2012offensive in which the army recaptured major towns.A "Friends of Yemen" meeting in London heard a call by British Foreign SecretaryWilliam Hague for donors to back Yemen's efforts to give Al-Qaeda "nowhere tohide". Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula -- a merger of the network's Yemeni and Saudibranches -- is regarded by Washington as its most dangerous franchise and has beensubjected to an intensifying drone war this year.The jihadists took advantage of a 2011 uprising that forced president Ali AbdullahSaleh from power to seize large swathes of the south and east, from which the armyhas struggled to evict them, despite backing from militia recruited among the localtribes.

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