Al-Qaeda prisoners escape in Yemen

More than 10 al-Qaeda militants escaped early Monday from a prison in the southern Yemeni city of Aden, reportedly tunneling their way out in the second daring prison escape this year, the Associated Press reported.


Supporters of the Yemeni government hurl stones at anti-government demonstrators. Militants have taken advantage of the unrest. (Muhammed Muheisen/AP)

Yemen is known for its spectacular jailbreaks — in 2003, 11 al-Qaeda militants convicted for the U.S.S. Cole bombing escaped from the same Aden prison. In 2006, a jailbreak saw 23 al-Qaeda militants escape, including Nasser al-Wahishi, who went on to become the leader of al-Qaeda's Yemeni offshoot. And in June, 60 al-Qaeda prisoners tunneled their way out of another prison in Yemen.

A popular uprising in Yemen has been met by a fierce government crackdown by President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who agreed last month to give up power within 90 days. Al-Qaeda militants have already taken advantage of the country's turmoil to seize control of several towns, and there are fears that with Saleh gone, the militants’ power in Yemen could strengthen.

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