The brother of an Al-Qaeda chief was among six militants killed in the restive southern Yemeni province of Abyan, where five soldiers also died in overnight clashes, local officials said on Thursday.
Five Qaeda suspects died when their positions in Bajdar, on the outskirts of the provincial capital Zinjibar, were shelled in an attack that "might have come from US naval forces" in the Gulf of Aden, an official said.
The brother of Nasir al-Wahishi, leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), was killed in that incident, the official who requested anonymity told AFP, identifying the man as Abderrahman al-Wahishi.
A sixth militant was killed and four others wounded in the fifth night of clashes pitting the Al-Qaeda linked Partisans of Sharia (Islamic law) group against Yemeni troops trying to retake Zinjibar.
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Five soldiers lost their lives in that combat, a military source told AFP.
Meanwhile, suspected Al-Qaeda loyalists kidnapped the brother of the chief of a tribal militia who has joined the army's fight against the jihadists, a tribal source said.
Rashid Aydarus was abducted near the main southern city of Aden in a bid by the extremists to negotiate the release of one of their men, Salem al-Mashibi, who was snatched by tribesmen three months ago.
Government forces have been backed by tribal fighters and sometimes supported by US drone strikes in their battle against the Partisans of Sharia, an insurgent group that took over most of Zinjibar in May.
Al-Qaeda has profited from the instability caused by 11 months of protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh, strengthening its positions across the south of the country.