ADEN, Yemen, July 4 (Xinhua) -- Yemeni warplanes killed 13 al- Qaida militants early Wednesday in the southern province of Abyan, a government official said.
The military aircrafts attacked several al-Qaida-held sites in Mahfad town in Abyan province, killing at least 13 terrorists and injuring seven others, the local government official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
"An air bombing hit a team of the al-Qaida terror group in a desert valley in Mahfad town," he said. "Several al-Qaida militants were killed in the aerial attack, including a Pakistani and two foreign nationals."
Local residents in Mahfad town confirmed the air raids. "A newly established training camp of the al-Qaida terrorist group was destroyed by rockets from the air," the residents told Xinhua anonymously.
"Foreign military experts of the al-Qaida thought to have been killed in the shelling," they added.
Combating al-Qaida militants in restive south is one of the challenges confronting Yemeni President Abdul-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who has launched months-long military offensive to uproot the Yemeni branch of al-Qaida, known locally as Ansar al-Sharia ( Partisans of Islamic Law).
The United States-backed offensive managed to expel al-Qaida militants from their major strongholds in the southern province of Abyan, recapturing its capital Zinjibar, towns including Jaar, Shakra and several villages, which they had controlled for nearly one year during the political unrest in Yemen.
The al-Qaida militants still have a strong presence in Mahfad town and some mountainous areas in Abyan.