ADEN, Yemen, May 16 (Xinhua) -- Yemeni air forces raided al- Qaida militants on Wednesday afternoon in the southern province of Abyan, killing at least 16 terrorists, a military official said.
Fighter jets of the Yemeni air forces hit two al-Qaida squads in the Lauder town in Abyan, killing at least 16 militants and injuring five others, the local military official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
"The al-Qaida militants were attacked while they were gathering for lunch in a mountainous area, Hidaan, east of Lauder town," the official said.
Earlier in the day, intensive fighting occurred between government forces and al-Qaida militants near Abyan's Lauder, leaving at least four soldiers and 13 terrorists killed, a government official told Xinhua.
In the neighboring southern port city of Aden, two Somali pirates escaped from a central prison, a security official told Xinhua anonymously on Wednesday.
The two Somalis who were sentenced to 10 years in prison for piracy acts escaped from the Mansoura central jail in Aden, the official said.
The Yemeni army has been fighting the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) since the Yemeni and Saudi terrorist wings merged in 2009.
Al-Qaida has recently tried to tighten its grip in Yemen by exploiting the unrest and security disorders. The militants seized some towns in provinces of Abyan and Shabwa in 2011, while the army has been trying to prevent them from expanding their presence.