ADEN, Yemen, May 10 (Xinhua) -- The Yemeni navy forces shelled several strongholds of the al-Qaida terrorist group in the southern province of Abyan early on Thursday, leaving at least nine terrorists killed, a government official told Xinhua.
Missiles have been fired by warships from the sea against various hideouts of the al-Qaida terror group in the insurgents- controlled town of Jaar, killing at least nine terrorists, the local government official said on condition of anonymity.
"Heavy shelling struck several compounds believed to be used by the al-Qaida insurgents in downtown Jaar," the official said.
"Two local leaders of the al-Qaida are believed to be amongst the killed fighters, including al-Qaida leader Abu Hudaifa and three of his escorts," he added.
A local resident told Xinhua anonymously that "huge blasts were heard in a school in Jaar's neighborhoods, where dozens of al- Qaida militants gathered."
The al-Qaida spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.
Jaar, Abyan's second largest town, is one of several southern towns captured last year by the al-Qaida militants.
Taking advantage of the political turmoil and instability in the Yemeni government, the Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula has set up several terrorist camps in several provinces.
In some regions of the country's restive south, their strongholds even operate as de facto governments.