Qaida Militants Kill 2 Yemeni Troops in Southern Town

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Al-Qaida fighters killed two Yemeni soldiers Wednesday when they shelled their camp with two mortars in the southern town of Loader which the militant group has been trying to take over, an army officer said.

Another soldier was wounded in the assault to which the army responded by shelling al-Qaida hideouts on the outskirts of Loder, the officer added.

Loder residents told Agence France Presse that the militants also shelled the town and burned down a mosque and a house.

"The (al-Qaida) network is trying to forcefully enter Loder," a tribal source said.

Loder and Mudia are the only towns in Abyan province which are still out of the control of the extremists who overran the provincial capital Zinjibar in May.

Fierce battles between the army and residents on one side and the extremists on the other for the control of both towns left more than 200 people dead early in April.

Residents of these towns have formed anti-Qaida militias -- known as Popular Resistance Committees -- which fight alongside the army to keep out the jihadists who have renamed themselves as Partisans of Sharia (Islamic law).

On Monday, al-Qaida gunmen launched spectacular attacks on two army posts outside of Zinjibar, killing at least 22 soldiers, to avenge the death of a top militant in an air raid.

The attacks came after Yemeni al-Qaida leader Fahd al-Quso, who was wanted in connection with the deadly 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, was killed in an air strike in eastern Yemen on Sunday.

U.S. media reported on Tuesday that Quso's killing came after information provided by a man who was a double agent. The man had infiltrated the militant group and was ordered by al-Qaida's branch in Yemen to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner.

American officials leaked out details of the extraordinary intelligence coup two days after the White House announced a plot by Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) had been successfully thwarted.

The double agent managed to spend weeks with AQAP before handing over information that allowed the United States to launch a drone strike on Sunday that killed Quso, the New York Times and other media reported, citing unnamed U.S. officials.

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