At least ten al-Qaida militants were killed in air strikes in Yemen on Wednesday, shortly after the Interior Ministry decided to expand the war on militancy in the south.
Informed sources in Abyan province said at least six militants were killed by an air strike which targeted them in south Lawder city and the others were killed in another air strike in Jaar city.
With direct support from the US and locals, the Yemeni army has been fighting the militants in southern and southeastern regions including Abyan, where hundreds of militants have been killed and injured recently.
Last week and this week, the forces and popular fighters repelled many attacks by al-Qaida to occupy Lawder and forced the militants to withdraw.
On Tuesday, more than 20 militants were killed in fierce battles in Lawder.
In mid-2011, al-Qaida occupied and declared as Islamic emirates some towns in Abyan including the capital Zinjibar and since then its members have been fighting the army.
Highlighting the battles with al-Qaida, commander of the Republican Guard, Ahmed Saleh, criticized on Tuesday the power-sharing government, saying the political foes in Yemen have failed to support the armed forces to uproot militancy.
In a speech during his meeting with leaders from the republican guards and Special Forces, Saleh said the country is in an urgent for the alignment of politicians and forces to face the threats of al-Qaida in the Red and Arabian Seas.
"The armed forces in Yemen need the support from the political leaders and whatever happens they are ready to defend the country," he said.