Author: 
SAEED AL-BATATI | ARAB NEWS
Publication Date: 
Fri, 2010-09-24 21:33

Brig. Ahmed
Al-Maqdish said security forces and special forces from the army are hunting
down the terrorists who fled to the mountains, confirming that the army is
besieging the mountains.
On Tuesday, Yemeni
forces launched an all-out campaign against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
outfit in Shabwa.
Local sources said
the clashes erupted when militants attacked a military patrol killing two
officers. Al-Qaeda was accused of carrying out the attack. Four soldiers have
been killed since the beginning of the campaign.
The governor of
Shabwa, Ali Hassan Lahmdi, flatly denied any direct involvements of US drones
in the current war on Al-Qaeda in the district saying “the assault is solely
carried out by Yemen anti-terrorism forces.”
Local journalists
from the troubled governorate told Arab News that most of the city's inhabitants
fled their homes to relatives in neighboring cities and governorates.
"Approximately
23,000 people have escaped,” said an independent journalist who preferred to
remain anonymous. He estimated that 80 families have been sheltered in two
schools in Azan city, about 10 km from the battle zone. "There are no
refugee camps in the area. Huta city is about 150 km from Al-Awalik mountains
in the district of Al-Said, the hometown of Anwar Al-Awlaki, who was wanted by
the United States," he added.
The militants
withdrew from the city to the mountains at night following an air strike. The
displaced people didn't go back despite the restoration of calm. Local
authorities and NGOs distributed foodstuffs and first aid. A blood donation
campaign was launched in Azan's general hospital.

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