3 Qaeda suspects killed in motorbike blast in Yemen's Aden

AFP , Wednesday 16 Mar 2016

Three suspected Al-Qaeda militants on a motorbike were killed Wednesday as a bomb they were transporting exploded in the southern Yemeni city of Aden, a security official said.

He said the motorbike blew up in the Dar Saad neighbourhood of the city, the scene of fighting has raged between Islamist militants and government forces.

Security officials said 26 Al-Qaeda fighters have been killed since the clashes began at the weekend, adding that the Islamist militants have vacated government buildings in the Mansura district.

Many Islamist militants have already pulled out from Aden and withdrawn to their strongholds in the nearby provinces of Abyan and Lahj, one official said.

Another official said Salafist Islamists were trying to mediate a truce, but militants were refusing to hand over areas they control.

Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group have taken advantage of Yemen's conflict between Iran-backed Shia Houthi rebels and pro-government forces to reinforce their presence in the south.

Warplanes from a pro-government, Saudi-led coalition targeted Islamist militants in Aden over the weekend for the first time since it mounted a campaign against the rebels in March last year.

The coalition helped loyalists regain control of four southern provinces last summer, including Aden, the temporary base of the government.

The capital Sanaa has remained in rebel hands since September 2014.

The World Health Organization says more than 6,200 people have been killed in the conflict since March 2015 and the United Nations has warned of a "human catastrophe unfolding in Yemen".

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