Aden, Jul (Reuters) - Yemeni soldiers killed 10 al Qaeda militants when they attacked a military camp outside the Islamist-controlled city of Zinjibar on Monday night.
"The 10 militants were killed by heavy shells before they could make it to the military camp," an army spokesman said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The dead included a senior al Qaeda militant who was sought by authorities.
"His name is Ali Saeed Jameel and he's from Mareb. He's a leader in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula," the official said.
Government troops launched an offensive earlier this month to recapture Zinjibar, the capital of southern Abyan province, from Islamists who seized it in May. The region lies east of the strategic Bab al-Mandab strait, through which some 3 million barrels of oil are shipped daily.
While unrest mounts in Abyan, protests demanding President Ali Abdullah Saleh leave office have entered their sixth month, paralyzing several cities and pushing the country into political limbo.
(Reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf; Writing by Mahmoud Habboush)