ADEN, Yemen, May 27 (Xinhua) -- About 16 members of the Yemen- based al-Qaida branch were killed Sunday in airstrikes launched by Yemeni air force in the southern province of Abyan, a government official said.
In the first air strike, warplanes pounded a house used for meetings by the al-Qaida militants in northern Jaar town, which has been controlled by al-Qaida since last year, leaving at least 10 terrorists killed, the local government official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
A tribal chief said that two local leaders of the terrorist group are believed to be killed in the airstrike.
The second air raid targeted a pick-up truck of the al-Qaida militants in the Haroor area near Jaar, killing all six passengers inside, the government official said.
Local residents told Xinhua anonymously that "military warplanes are still hovering over Jaar."
"Air strikes bombed al-Qaida militants living next to our residential buildings, it may kill civilians like what happened earlier this month," they said.
Al-Qaida has not commented on the latest air strikes yet.
The Yemeni armed forces, backed by U.S. military advisers, have recently increased attacks against al-Qaida bastions in southern regions, as part of an offensive to uproot the terrorists from areas they overran during the one-year political turmoil in Yemen.
Hundreds of militants from the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch, locally known as Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law), are attempting to expand their foothold and take control over the county's southern regions where central authority has almost no presence.