Al Qaeda fighters have retreated from a southern province of war-ravaged Yemen in the face of an assault by an elite government force, a military official said on Monday.
But special forces, trained by the UAE and backed by the United States, on Wednesday launched a “major operation” against the radicals in Shabwa province.
The group staged a “tactical retreat” from the province with no major clashes, the senior military official said, requesting anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to the press. The radicals appear to have moved even further south into neighbouring Abyan province.
Residents of Abyan town near the Shabwa border said they saw 45 cars carrying armed Al Qaeda rebels pass through their district.