Yemen's army on Tuesday retook control of the last and most important strongholds of Al-Qaida militants in the south and is now carrying out a special operation, so called 'the golden swords', to clear militants from the remaining parts of Abyan, military sources said.
The forces retook Jaar after fierce battles at down and hours later recaptured Zinjibar, the capital, they said. The two towns were seized in mid-2011.
Militants withdraw from the two towns at down and battled the forces until they lost their last strongholds, the sources continued. With direct support from the US and tribal fighters, the army has retaken many areas and killed hundreds of militants including senior leaders since an intensified offensive on the militants began almost two months ago.
The forces are now removing mines from Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan, and Jaar, which were planted to ambush troops.
Most of Al-Qaida militants have fled to the coastal Shuqra city, where the army has already started shelling positions and airstrikes have targeted others.
After retaking Zinjibar and Jaar, the forces advanced toward Shuqra and they are now battling militants on its edges.
Also, the defense ministry has said the navy sank ten boats of Al-Qaida, onboard which tens of Somali militants infiltrated into Yemen to support the local militants.