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Five Al Qaeda men killed in Yemen

Five Al Qaeda members have been killed and 32 suspects arrested during a three-day military offensive in Yemen, the interior ministry said .

world Updated: Sep 27, 2010 07:28 IST

Five Al Qaeda members have been killed and 32 suspects arrested during a three-day military offensive in Yemen, the interior ministry said on Sunday.

According to a statement posted on the ministry's website, two security personnel were also killed during the operation which was carried out in Hota town of Shabwa province Sep 22-24.

The country's defence ministry said that combined forces of security and army units had cleansed Hota town of the entrenched Al Qaeda militants and forced the rest to flee to surrounding mountains, Xinhua reported.

"The combined forces have launched a manhunt campaign to capture the terrorist elements who fled the town to the surrounding mountains," the statement quoted security director of Shabwa province Ahmed al-Maqdashi as saying.

On Sep 22, the Yemeni authorities kicked off a mass offensive including air raids against Al Qaeda fighters who were besieged in Hota town, a local anti-terror official told Xinhua.

According to intelligence reports, 200 Al Qaeda militants arrived in the town from the northeastern province of Marib and the southern province of Abyan, bringing the total number of fighters there up to 300, he said.

Yemen, the ancestral homeland of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, has witnessed a series of deadly attacks by the group since late last year.

Supported by the US, Yemen's security services have intensified crackdown and air strikes on terrorist groups since the Yemen-based Al Qaeda branch claimed responsibility for a failed attempt to blow up a US passenger plane in Detroit last December.