Dozens of radical Muslim terrorists -- including foreign fighters -- were killed by Yemen's security forces on Sunday, as the struggling government continues its full-court press against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and its affiliates, according to news reports.
The suspected terrorists killed number 37, according to the Arab news agency Saba. All of those killed are believed to be AQAP members who were hiding in the town of Mayfaa. Besides Yemeni nationals several of the those killed were foreign fighters from Saudi Arabia, Afghanistant, Somalia and Chechnya. Civilian and military vehicles as well as weapons belonging to the terrorist group that security forces confiscated were immediately destroyed.
Yemen's anti-terrorism operation, called "Towards Yemen free of terrorism," had been initiated in the southern terrorist strongholds of Shabwa and Abyan last week. On Friday, five other AQAP Islamists were killed in Abyan during an attack by the Yemeni military using artillery, Katyusha rockets and tanks.
One of those who were mortally wounded was the suspected al-Qaida leader Abu Islam al-Shaishani, who was not an Arab but a Chechen national.
The Yemeni security forces also suffered casualties such as the killing of six soldiers and wounding of 20 others in Shabwa.
AQAP has been a dangerous enemy of Yemen's government since the 2011 uprising which overthrew President Ali Abdullah Saleh's corrupt regime. The group is concentrated in the south and east districts of Yemen.
The Islamic terrorists have gained favor with a number of Yemen's civilian population since they tend to only target police and soldiers. AQAP is credited with gaining support in regions of the country due to the group's success in restoring security against armed militias and warlords.