Pro-Saudi forces in southern Yemen have engaged in a significant battle with a group of fighters they identified as suspected members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), a significant overnight battle centering on a farm west of the city of al-Mukallah.
According to officials familiar with the situation, at least 30 of the suspects were killed in a gun-battle that broke out during the raid on the farm. Four soldiers on the side of the pro-Saudi forces were also killed. Four people were also reportedly captured during the raid.
The pro-Saudi faction controls materially the entire southern coast of Yemen now after invading in March 2015. For much of 2015, however, Mukallah and the surrounding area were held by AQAP, who used the invasion as cover for significant territorial gains.
Though AQAP no longer controls the major port city, they have a significant presence throughout southern Yemen, including in Aden, the interim capital of the Hadi government. The group has been described as one of the most active Islamist factions in the world for many years.
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