Five hundred al Qaeda militants and 40 soldiers have been killed since the military launched an offensive against the group in April, Yemeni army spokesman, Colonel Saeed al-Faquih, told a news conference on Thursday.

Yemen’s military mounted a campaign in the south of the country to try to crush the Islamist group that has killed hundreds of people, and in response the militants have stepped up attacks on government facilities after being driven out of strongholds in the southern Shabwa and Abyan provinces.

They have fled to the desert and the mountains from where they have been attacking army and government targets. […]