Central government forces in Yemen fought militants on Sunday after the militants seized control of parts of a south Yemen town, residents said.
The militants forced the army to retreat from a hill overlooking the town of Jaar, taking over a state broadcast building and a rest house used by President Ali Abdullah Saleh on visits to the region.
The militants seized two tanks and one soldier was killed, the sources said.
The army shelled key government buildings that a coalition of different groups had taken control of on Saturday.
Residents said there was no visible presence of government security forces in the town of several hundred thousand people, which appeared to be in militant hands. Saleh has been seen as a bulwark against Al Qaeda in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula state, where central government control is weak and relies upon tribal allies.
Meanwhile, the Yemen-based branch of Al Qaeda could be close to launching an attack, according to US spy agencies, which said the group may be seeking to capitalise on unrest roiling the Middle Eastern country, The Washington Post said on Saturday.
Citing unnamed US officials, the newspaper said agencies have gathered only “fragmentary information” on a possible plot from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and have yet to assemble detailed intelligence that would prompt a public warning or take to specific action to counter the threat. Agencies