Clashes between Yemeni army, militants kill 30

 SANAA, Yemen (AP) -- Yemeni military officials say fierce clashes that erupted in southern Yemen between army troops and al-Qaida-linked militants have killed 30 on both sides.

   The officials say the fighting broke out early Saturday after the militants staged a surprise attack on an army base in al-Mallah town in southern Lahj province.

   They say 17 soldiers and 13 militants were killed and that Yemeni fighter jets launched airstrikes, forcing al-Qaida fighters to retreat. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media.

   Al-Mallah is adjacent to Abyan province, an al-Qaida stronghold.

   Militants have seized on the political and security turmoil following Yemen's yearlong uprising and have taken control of several towns in the south.

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