ADEN, Yemen, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- A total of 23 militants of the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch were killed in armed confrontations with Yemeni government forces supported by the Saudi-led coalition in the southeastern province of Hadramout on Sunday.
The 2nd Regional Military Command based in Hadramout declared in a press statement obtained by Xinhua that "the anti-terror military operation against al-Qaida-held locations in Hadramout's Valley ended successfully."
"All hideouts of al-Qaida militants in Amad Valley of Hadramout province were stormed and completely cleared during the military campaign," the statement said.
The military authorities in Hadramout said that "three days of fierce fighting with al-Qaida resulted in the killing of 23 terrorists."
The anti-terror operation will continue against some al-Qaida militants who are being besieged in rugged mountainous areas in Hadramout, the Yemeni authorities said.
No details were revealed about the casualties among the Yemeni government soldiers who participated in the anti-terror operation in Hadramout.
But local sources said that "the two-warring sides engaged in ferocious fighting that caused heavy casualties among the soldiers."
Three days ago, the newly-recruited Yemeni anti-terror troops launched an all-out operation against al-Qaida in Hadramout in cooperation with the United Arab Emirates and the Saudi-led coalition that provided military air support for the troops on-ground.
Al-Qaida militants are intensifying their drive-by attacks on security checkpoints in the Yemeni southern provinces as UAE-backed government forces increase military operations against their hideouts in the war-plagued Arab country.
During the past months, Yemeni government forces and the UAE armed forces operating in the southern province of Aden launched a new anti-terror offensive "to root out al-Qaida militants from their strongholds in neighboring southern province of Abyan."
Thousands of southern recruits joined the campaign after receiving military training and financial support from the UAE forces.
The UAE-backed anti-terror campaign has dislodged al-Qaida militants from several villages in Abyan and in the neighboring southeastern province of Shabwa, with more than 50 of them arrested and moved to prisons in Aden.
The Yemen-based al-Qaida branch, seen by the United States as the global terror network's most dangerous branch, has exploited years of deadly conflict between Yemen's government and Houthi rebels to expand its presence, especially in Shabwa and Abyan provinces.