The fighting in the southern Yemeni town of Lawder continues to escalate today, with reports from local officials that another 34 people were slain, bringing the five day death toll to 211.
The latest fighting saw a number of additional “anti-terrorism” units deployed from the Yemeni capital city of Sanaa, and while the fighting was once again centered around Lawder, it also included an overnight incident on the outskirts of the major city of Aden, where members of Ansar al-Sharia attacked a security official’s home, killing three officers.
In addition, there was significant fighting in the nearby town of Zara, where Yemen’s Defense Ministry reported it arrested two “senior al-Qaeda members.” Ansar al-Sharia’s own statements claimed they had killed as many as 36 tribesmen in the last two days.
Lawder is a strategically valuable town, lying on Abyan’s only major highway to the north, and would give the Ansar al-Sharia forces, concentrated in the capital of Zinjibar, access to the nearby provinces where significant gains have been made by other militant factions.
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