Four civilians among 10 killed in Yemen strikes

Four civilians and six gunmen were killed in a series of air raids on Tuesday that targeted extremists who have taken control of most of Yemen's southern city of Zinjibar, sources told AFP.

Three of the civilians were killed when an air strike hit the home of a top Yemeni official on the outskirts of Zinjibar, an official in Jaar Mohsen Saeed told AFP.

"The home of the deputy head of the parliament, Mohammed Ali al-Shadadi, was hit by an air strike that killed three family members and injured seven," Mohsen Saleh Said told AFP.

"I don't know why Shadadi's home was targeted," he said, adding that Shadadi who  is in Cairo.

Shadadi had pledged support for protesters who have for six months been calling for the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, hospitalised in Riyadh for wounds sustained in a bomb blast at his palace compound last month.

Yemen's military aircraft carried out several strikes Tuesday against positions held by Islamists linked to Al-Qaeda in Zinjibar and its outskirts, an official in Jaar said.

A medical official said one civilian was killed and three others were wounded in the raids on Zinjibar.

Meanwhile, four fighters were killed in an air raid that targeted them in the nearby town of Jaar, a source on the ground in the town said.

The official in Jaar said another raid on the road linking Jaar to Zinjibar killed two other militants.

Yemeni forces have been engaged in fierce fighting with militants of the Partisans of Sharia (Islamic Law) movement who seized much of Zinjibar in late May.

The Sanaa government says the militants are allied with Al-Qaeda but the opposition accuses it of playing up a jihadist threat in a desperate attempt to keep embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh in power.

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