Militants fled to nearby mountains after the clashes in Al-Hawtah district of Shabwa province, said a Yemeni officer.
He said Apache helicopters belonging to the UAE — a key member of a Saudi-led Arab coalition in Yemen — then strafed the mountains where the terrorists had fled.
“We entered Al-Hawtah after clashes with the terrorists and now we’re stationed in several locations... We are in total control of the area,” the officer said.
The UAE has been playing a key role in the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen, launched in 2015 to roll back Houthi militia gains but which has expanded to counter militant advances.
Al-Qaeda has flourished in the chaos of Yemen’s civil war and in August, Emirati-trained Yemeni special forces launched a US-backed operation against the group, also the target of a long-running US drone campaign.
Yemeni forces have brought Shabwa province largely under government control, though Al-Qaeda is known to make tactical retreats to mountain refuges, only to resurface.
Houthi militias still occupy one district of Shabwa as well as the neighboring province of Baida, the capital Sanaa and most of northern Yemen.