Yemeni army officials say 23 people have been killed in clashes between the military and al Qaida-linked militants in the country's south.
The officials say the fighting began early on Monday after the militants attacked an army position in the town of Lawder in Abyan province, where al Qaida fighters have taken advantage of Yemen's political turmoil to seize control of territory.
They say the dead included 18 militants and five soldiers, including a colonel. Three soldiers were wounded.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with military rules.