Al-Qaeda kills Yemen southern army commander

A blow to Yemen's army

SANAA - A suicide bomber killed on Monday Yemen's southern army commander, General Salem Ali Qoton, in an attack in the port city of Aden, a medical official said.
"General Qoton was killed and four others were wounded in a suicide attack," near his home in the Mansoura neighbourhood of Aden, the medic said on condition of anonymity.
The medic, who is also a relative of Qoton, said the attacker "handed Qoton a paper, shook his hand and then detonated himself," when the general was walking to his office.
As the chief military commander in south Yemen, Qoton had led a month-long offensive against Al-Qaeda, forcing the militant group to withdraw from several towns and villages in the restive Abyan and Shabwa provinces which they had controlled since last year.
The Monday morning attack came as Al-Qaeda fled from their last bastion in the town of Azzan in Shabwa.
Since last week, Al-Qaeda has withdrawn from three other strongholds in Abyan, including the capital Zinjibar, and the towns of Jaar and Shuqra.
On May 12, the Yemeni army began its offensive to recapture territory lost to the militants.
A total of 567 people have died in the campaign -- 429 Al-Qaeda militants, 78 soldiers, 26 militiamen and 34 civilians -- according to an AFP tally compiled from various sources.