Al Qaeda militants who fought their way into the southern Yemeni town of Jaar on Wednesday have withdrawn and police are back in control, although the Islamist fighters remain in the nearby town of Zinjibar, residents said on Thursday.

The militants, who belong to a local affiliate of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) known as Ansar al-Sharia, took over Jaar in an early morning surprise attack, exploiting the collapse of central authority in Yemen’s civil war.

It was the second time in four years they had captured the town, in the province of Abyan about 50 km (30 miles) east of the port city of Aden. They withdrew hours later, after blowing up the house of the commander of a local tribal militia group, the residents said.[…]