Three Yemeni troops, including a colonel, and four Islamist gunmen were killed on Thursday during clashes in the restive southern city of Zinjibar, a military official and a witness said.
The soldiers were killed when a mortar shell exploded as they were loading it at a military base east of Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan province, the official said requesting anonymity.
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The gunmen from the Al-Qaeda-linked Partisans of Sharia (Islamic law) group, which controls large parts of the city, were killed in clashes with Yemeni forces northeast of Zinjibar, the witness said.
One of the gunmen was reportedly Egyptian.
Islamist militants overran much of Zinjibar last May and have retained their positions in the city and nearby towns despite repeated efforts by the army to dislodge them that have left hundreds dead.