Sanaa, Jun 30: A Yemeni air force jet mistakenly bombed a bus on Wednesday in a southern town controlled by Islamic militants, killing four people, as clashes between the fighters and government troops left 23 dead on both sides.
Government forces have been trying for days to drive out the fighters who seized Zinjibar last month. The takeover of the town signaled that Islamic militants are taking advantage of the political turmoil that has gripped Yemen since a popular uprising against President Ali Abdullah Saleh's rule began in mid-February.
The fighters, some of them believed to be linked to Yemen's al-Qaida branch, have taken over several towns in the south, far from the reach of the central government in the capital, Sanaa.
The airstrike that struck the passenger bus also wounded 12 people, security officials said.
A short while later, militants overran a soccer stadium on the city's outskirts and attacked government troops there, the officials said. The clashes killed 15 security troops. Government warplanes called in again bombed the stadium, killing eight militants.
Several government armored vehicles were destroyed and officials said scores of militants were wounded in the battle.
Also in Zinjibar, officials said militants seized 50 residents, accused them of passing information to the government and locked them inside the governor's office.