Yemen army kills 37 militants in South

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Officials in Yemen say the army has killed 37 suspected al-Qaida militants during heavy fighting in the country's south.

The Defense Ministry says the fighters were killed overnight in clashes and airstrikes in the town of Meyfaa during a multi-day operation to drive al-Qaida out of the southern provinces of Abyan and Shabwa.

Yemen's Saba news agency quoted a military source as saying those killed included Saudis, Afghans, Somalis, Chechens and other nationalities.

On Saturday, Yemen said a top al-Qaida operative, identified as Chechen national Abu Islam al-Shaishani, was killed during fighting in Abyan.

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has launched numerous attacks on military targets, tourists and diplomats in Yemen in recent years.

Last month, the group's Yemen branch vowed to carry out more attacks against what it calls "western crusaders."