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Yemeni troops kill 2 Saudi 'Qaeda' militants


Yemeni forces killed two Saudi members of Al-Qaeda Saturday as the army pressed its offensive against jihadists in the south, the defence ministry said.

Army forces killed "two Saudi terrorists, Ibrahim Hamad and Ahmed al-Harbi," in the town of Azzan, in Shabwa province, the ministry said on its news website.

The army seized Azzan after launching its operation on April 29, but continues to clash with some Al-Qaeda militants still holed up in houses there, witnesses said.

The provinces of Abyan and Shabwa and the neighbouring central province of Baida have been the focus of the offensive.

President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi vowed Thursday to clear Al-Qaeda from all its remaining bastions by extending the offensive to other regions.

He named Marib, east of Sanaa, where Al-Qaeda is firmly implanted.

A military official cited by state news agency Saba Saturday said "Al-Qaeda members are still being hunted" and stressed that the operation "will continue until they are cleared."

The official urged people to be vigilant about militants "fleeing" from Mahfad and Shabwa to neighbouring areas.

The jihadists' Yemen franchise, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, took advantage of a 2011 uprising that forced veteran president Ali Abdullah Saleh from power to seize large swathes of the south and east.

The army recaptured several major towns in 2012 but has struggled to reassert control in rural areas despite recruiting militia allies among the local tribes.