SANAA, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- The Yemen-based al-Qaida wing took over another key town in the southern province of Abyan on Tuesday, following fierce battles with Yemeni government forces, provincial officials said.
"Al-Koud town, also known as Koud, has fallen into the hand of fighters of the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) as the Yemeni army forces have been continuously shelling the militants since Monday afternoon," a security official told Xinhua by phone, requesting anonymity.
Al-Koud is one of Abyan's strategic towns overlooking the coastline off the Gulf of Aden.
AQAP, which announced the formation of an army of 12,000 fighters in south Yemen in May, apparently benefited from the unrest rattling the impoverished Arab country since late January.
The resurgent terrorist group seized Abyan's provincial capital city of Zinjibar and other neighboring regions including Jaar town and Azzan city in the southeast province of Shabwa.
Yemeni government forces supported by U.S. and Saudi intelligence have been combating terrorist groups since 2009.