Al-Qaeda chief in Yemen killed

Al-Qaeda chief in Yemen killed

ADEN: (APP) Yemeni security forces killed an Al-Qaeda leader in the province of Lahj during a raid on Tuesday, police said.

Ammar Qaid, known as Al-Qaeda's "emir" in Lahj, was killed in an exchange of fire with "counter-terrorism" forces after refusing to surrender, said provincial police chief Saleh Sayed.

The raid in the provincial capital Huta was carried out as part of a vast operation backed by an Arab military coalition against the militants in Aden, Abyan and Lahj, in southwestern Yemen.

They are three of five provinces under the control of government forces at war with Iran-backed Shiite Huthi rebels.

In southern Hadramawt, meanwhile, suspected Al-Qaeda militants shot dead policeman Ali al-Bekri on Monday night in the town of Qotn before fleeing, a security source told AFP.

In the north of the country, heavy clashes on Monday killed 21 loyalist soldiers and seven rebels in Midi and Haradh, military sources said.

The pro-government forces had come under fire in a minefield as they advanced, said one source.

Yemen's long-running conflict escalated in March 2015 when a Saudi-led coalition began bombing raids against the Huthis who had stormed the capital and taken swathes of central and northern territory.

Around 7,400 people have died in air strikes and clashes since then, the UN says, and aid agencies have warned of an impending humanitarian crisis in the Arab world's poorest nation.