ADEN, Yemen, March 18 (Xinhua) -- Yemeni warplanes bombed several bases of the al-Qaida terrorist group in the southern province of Abyan on Sunday, killing at least 18 terrorists and injuring dozens of others, a government official told Xinhua.
Heavy shelling by the Yemeni military aircrafts and U.S. naval vessels on the sea hit the al-Qaida bases in and around the city of Jaar, Abayn's second largest city, killing at least 18 terrorists and injuring dozens of others, the local official said on condition of anonymity.
"A number of fortifications and checkpoints belonging to the insurgents were completely destroyed in the bombing," he said.
A witness told Xinhua anonymously that some residential buildings in the city were also damaged in the heavy shelling.
"The strikes demolished more than four houses located in the center of Jaar city. Many people fled their houses for fear of repeated air raids," the witness said.
But it was not clear whether there were any civilian casualties, the official said.
Residents in Jaar's neighboring city of Luader said they could see the jets hovering over the region and hear the bombing sound.
Jaar, along with three other southern towns were seized by al- Qaida militants in May last year.
The Yemeni army and security forces have recently been attacked by the Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula who also frequently kidnapped foreigners to force the government to meet their demands across the restive south.
Fears mounted that al-Qaida's regional wing may exploit the security collapse in expanding its foothold and taking control over the southern and eastern lawless parts of the country.