Five people have been killed in an assault launched by Al-Qaeda fighters Tuesday on a Yemeni army convoy ferrying supplies to troops in the restive southern Abyan province, a military official said.
Three Yemeni soldiers and two fighters of Al-Qaeda were killed during the assault on the military convoy in the village of Mazraat Mashhour, southwest of Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan, the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
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The militants "failed to seize the contents of the convoy" which was headed to Zinjibar from the southern port city of Aden, the official said, adding that fierce clashes continued as troops fought to capture the provincial capital which has been under the control of militants since May 2011.
Yemeni forces launched an all-out offensive on May 12 this year to oust Al-Qaeda from towns and cities in Abyan which it has captured over the past year.
Since the offensive began, at least 343 people have been killed, according to a tally compiled by AFP, including 249 Al-Qaeda fighters, 58 military personnel, 18 local militiamen and 18 civilians.
According to western diplomats in Sanaa, US experts are assisting the Yemeni army in their battle against Al-Qaeda.