Officials: 57 al-Qaida militants escape Yemen jail

June 22, 2011 5:44:59 AM PDT
Security officials say at least 57 al-Qaida militants have escaped from a jail in southern Yemen. They say the 57 were among 62 inmates from the Mukalla jail in the Hadarmout province who escaped Wednesday through an underground tunnel.

Bands of gunmen attacked the prison simultaneously, opening fire on the guards from outside to divert their attention away from the escape.

One guard was killed and another wounded in the attack, said the security officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Wednesday's escape was the latest sign that Yemen's months-long upheaval has emboldened al-Qaida militants to challenge authorities in the country's nearly lawless south.