Yemen's army early on Friday retook control of the coastal town of Shuqra in the southern Abyan province, to where Al-Qaida militants sheltered after the fall of their last strongholds the capital Zinjibar and the strategic city of Jaar few days ago, military sources said.
The forces launched fierce battles against the remaining militants in Shuqra amid widespread operations targeting them in Abyan and nearby provinces of Shabwa and Hadramout.
With the fall of this town, which has been used as a sea route for supplies and infiltration of Somali militants since Al-Qaida seized key towns in the south in mid-2011, the army now controls all parts in Abyan.
The army and popular committees entered Shuqra from the southwestern part and fierce battles took place on its edges, the sources said.
More than two dozen militants were killed when the forces, with support from tribal fighters, continued to advance on and control this town, the sources said.
On Thursday, the defense ministry said about 40 militants were killed in the ongoing battles with Al-Qaida militants in Abyan and Shabwa.
After their defeat in Zinjibar and Jaar, the militants were reported to have escaped to Shabwa and nearby provinces, but the forces pushed ahead targeting new positions and killing tens of militants.
Retaking control of Shuqra has culminated the largely hailed victory of the forces against Al-Qaida since an offensive was launched few months ago with direct support from the US.
Hundreds of militants including senior leaders have been killed in the battles and terrorism concerns have started to vanish internally and externally.