Thirty Yemeni soldiers and 14 militants linked to Al Qaeda were killed in southern Yemen's Abyan provice today, according to the Associated Press. The death toll from the shootout, details of which remain murky, is expected to rise.
Yemen, where former president Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced from power after protests against his rule, has seen militant violence in its south following the inauguration of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who was approved to assume the office of president in a February referendum.
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The BBC reported that the shootout followed two car bombings in the provincial capital of Abyan, Zinjibar. Six soldiers were killed when those bombs detonated near different gates of the city.
The attacks are viewed as pushback against attempts by president Hadi to restore order in Yemen's lawless south and to root out Qaeda influence. Hadi is under intense US and Western pressure to act against militants; Washington and Europe see Yemen as home to the fastest-growing Qaeda branch, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
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The BBC reported that the army has been attempting to retake towns overrun by Qaeda fighters, and today's deaths are part of the broader conflict to reassert government control.