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14 ’Mostly Qaeda’ Inmates Flee Yemen Jail after Attack

YEMEN-UNREST-SAUDI-QAEDA-TRIAL

Fourteen inmates, mostly from Al-Qaeda, managed to escape from the central prison in Yemen’s capital Thursday when gunmen launchYemened a deadly assault on the facility, officials said.

Seven policemen and three gunmen were killed, according to the interior ministry and security officials.

Another two policemen and two gunmen were wounded, and one of the attackers was captured, the ministry said.

The two-pronged attack began when an explosives-laden vehicle exploded at the facility’s eastern entrance, breeching a hole in the prison fence, security officials said.

At the same time, gunmen attacked guards at the main entrance, creating a diversion that allowed some of the prisoners to escape through the hole in the fence.

One official told AFP that “14, mostly Al-Qaeda inmates” had fled.

Nasser al-Wuhayshi, chief of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula — seen by the United States as the network’s deadliest franchise — vowed in August to free imprisoned members of his network.

Wuhayshi himself escaped from the same Sanaa prison with 22 other members of AQAP in February 2006 and was named as the group’s leader a year later.

The AQAP detainees escaped through a 44-metre (145-foot) tunnel they dug between their cell and a nearby mosque.

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