Yemen's Defense Ministry says clashes in the south between al-Qaida militants and pro-government fighters have killed 14 on both sides.
A ministry statement on Thursday says the fighting lasted for the past two days and left eight militants dead. It's part of a military offensive that local militiamen have joined to push al-Qaida out of the mountainous stronghold of al-Maraksha in Abyan province.
Abdullah al-Ameeri says six of his fighters were killed. Al-Ameeri is a member of the Popular Committees, a militia of local residents who sided with the government against al-Qaida.
The U.S. considers Yemen's al-Qaida branch as the group's most dangerous offshoot. Washington has helped Yemeni troops with airpower and advisers during last summer's offensive to drive militants out of large areas al-Qaida seized during Yemen's 2011 uprising.