Yemen’s state-run news agency says about 40 suspected al-Qaida militants have been killed in clashes with military forces in southern Abyan province.
SABA news said Tuesday that two soldiers were also killed in the continuing unrest near Zinjibar, the provincial capital. The report says military forces will keep pursuing “terrorists” until they are eradicated from the province.
The military launched a series of airstrikes over the region late Monday, targeting suspected militant hideouts.
Earlier Monday, tens of thousands of Yemenis rallied in the capital, Sana’a, to protest against the government’s handling of an Islamist insurgency in Abyan province.
The protesters accused the government of not doing enough to combat Islamist militants who took control of parts of the province in late May.
Opposition activists have staged protests on an almost daily basis over the past five months. They have been demanding an end to President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33-year autocratic rule.
The president remains in Saudi Arabia, where he is receiving treatment for injuries sustained in a June 3 bombing in Sana’a.