Officials: Yemen forces target militant hideouts, killing 36

Yemeni General Ali Salah visits soldiers in Yemen's restive Abayan province on March 6, 2012.

Story highlights

  • Second round of airstrikes also kills 18
  • The first incident occurs in southeast Yemen
  • "We are trying to eliminate their presence," official says

Yemeni air forces targeted militant hideouts in the south, killing at least 18 suspected al Qaeda insurgents, security officials said Saturday.

In a separate action, 18 additional militants were killed in airstrikes, officials said.

The first airstrikes occurred in the Yemen province of al-Baitha in areas used as launching pads for militant attacks, the officials said.

"Al Qaeda is trying to build a stronghold in al-Baitha and it is in the beginning stages. We are trying to eliminate their presence while it is still possible and easy," one of the officials said.

Both officials did not want to be named because they are not authorized to speak to the media.

Smoke from the air raids covered the skies of al-Baitha hours after the attack. Security forces also formed new checkpoints in nearby districts.

Residents said military aircraft roam the skies of the province around the clock.

    In a separate action, the air force carried out five airstrikes in the towns of Jaar and Zinjibar in Abyan province, killing 18 suspected Ansar al-Sharia militants, Yemeni security officials toldf CNN.

    The attacks targeted caches of weapons and equipment seized by the militants earlier this week, the officials said.

        CNN recommends

      • pkg clancy north korea nuclear dreams_00002004.jpg

        As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
      • Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
      • pkg rivers uk football match fixing_00005026.jpg

        Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
      • No Eiffel Towers, Statues of Liberties, Mt. Rushmores, Taj Mahals, Aussie koalas or Chairman Maos.

        It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.