Al QaedaYemen

Al-Qaeda Frees More Than 1,000 Prisoners From Yemeni Prison

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Via The Hill:

More than 1,000 prisoners — including suspected al Qaeda terrorists — escaped during clashes at a jail in central Yemen on Tuesday, according to reports.

 

The incident, the biggest in a series of prison breaks that have freed al Qaeda militants in recent years, comes amid a breakdown in Yemen’s security and stability since the Arab Spring.

 

“Groups of al Qaeda supporters … today attacked the central prison in the city of Taiz and more than 1,200 of the dangerous prisoners escaped,” a security official told state news agency Saba, according to Reuters.

 

Yemen is currently in the midst of an insurgency by Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels, who took over the capital of Sanaa last fall from the Western-backed government.

 

The U.S. was forced to withdraw troops and diplomatic personnel from Yemen in February, and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has sought to make gains in the chaos. Its leader, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, was killed in a suspected U.S. drone strike earlier this month.

 

The U.S. is currently supporting a Saudi-led military coalition that has been conducting airstrikes against the Houthis, as well as units in Yemen’s army that are siding with the Shiite-rebels.

 

The security official said army forces linked to former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh allowed the prisoners to escape as the Houthis advanced.

 

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