Yemen: Al Qaeda land mines planted by fleeing militants kill 73 civilians

A Yemeni man walks past cars destroyed during fighting with al Qaeda militants in the city of Zinjibar, Yemen, June 14, 2012. AP

(AP) SANAA, Yemen - Yemeni officials say land mines planted by al Qaeda militants before they fled from key southern strongholds have killed 73 civilians over the past week.

The governor's office in Zinjibar, the provincial capital of Abyan, says engineering teams have removed some 3,000 land mines around the city and near the southern town of Jaar. The killed civilians were residents of the area.

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Government troops captured both towns after a two-month offensive to uproot al Qaeda fighters from large swaths of land they captured during last year's political turmoil.

Tuesday's statement from the governor's office also says Jaar residents discovered bodies of 20 militants and two soldiers killed during last week's fighting.

Muqbel Shaddad, a Jaar resident, said over the phone that the bodies were found scattered in bushes and around the countryside.

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