Yemeni security officials say army troops have repelled a dawn attack by al-Qaida fighters seeking to recapture a southern town. The clashes killed seven troops and 16 militants.
The officials say Wednesday's fighting focused around the town of Azan in Shabwa province. Government warplanes came to the aid of the troops as they defended the town, bombing positions of the attacking militants.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to media.
Al-Qaida fighters have been retreating from areas they had held in the face of an on-going Yemeni military offensive mostly in Shabwa and the province of Marib, east of the capital, Sanaa.