by Murad Abdu
ADEN, Yemen, May 14 (Xinhua) -- Up to 30 al-Qaida militants were killed Wednesday during armed clashes with army forces in Yemen's southeastern Shabwa province, Yemen's official news agency said.
"Scores of al-Qaida militants launched a botched attempt against two army outposts in the Azzan district of Shabwa province, but the army forces repulsed the attacks, leaving more than 30 terrorists killed," the state-run Saba News agency reported on its webpage.
Commander of the 3rd Military Region Maj. Gen. Ahmed Saif al- Yafei has confirmed to Saba that "dozens of armed terrorists fled from Azzan area and over 30 others were killed since dawn on Wednesday."
"The bodies scattered around the site of the clashes and in several locations show that al-Qaida is forcing children to fight on their side, and that's what will be confirmed by the photos and documents that will be delivered to the media soon," Saba quoted General al-Yafei as saying.
A government official told Xinhua anonymously that military helicopter gunships of Yemen's air forces struck several al-Qaida- held positions in different areas in Shabwa.
Local residents said that two powerful explosions rocked Shabwa 's provincial capital of Attaq city, an area that is periodically hit by armed attacks that authorities blame on al-Qaida militants.
Earlier in the day, a total of 17 suspected al-Qaida militants and 11 army soldiers were killed as fresh armed clashes erupted in Yemen's Shabwa, a military official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Some local media outlets reported that a top aide to Yemen's defense minister was killed during Wednesday's clashes with al- Qaida militants in Shabwa.
In a separate incident, a Yemeni intelligence colonel was shot dead on Wednesday evening in Yemen's southeastern province of Hadramout, a security official told Xinhua.
Colonel Saleh Thabit al-Nahdi, who worked as a director of the political security department in Burom area in Hadramout province, was shot dead in front of his home, the local security official said.
"Unidentified gunmen fired a barrage of bullets on Saleh al- Nahdi in the district of Burom in Hadramout, immediately killing him in front of his children," the security source said.
He said the victim, a political security colonel, was coming out of his residential building, and heading for prayers at a nearby mosque when the shooting occurred, adding that he was shot twice in his chest and in the head.
The Yemeni military and security forces has recently intensified operations against suspected al-Qaida strongholds throughout the country, killing many non-Yemeni al-Qaida suspects.
Territories in Azzan and Mahfad, two of al-Qaida's main bastions, have been recaptured by army troops.
However, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, also known as AQAP, has vowed to hit back in Yemen' s main cities, including the capital Sanaa.
AQAP militants have retaliated by launching suicide car attacks and roadside bombings across the impoverished Arab country.