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Al-Qaeda militants storm central prison in Yemen.

| SANAA, Jan 16 (KUNA) -- Al-Qaeda militants broke into a central jail in Radda town Yemen's southeastern province of Al-Bayda on Monday, setting free about 700 prisoners, the Yemeni Interior Ministry said.

Most of the released inmates were serving terms in connection with various criminal cases, the ministry said in a release, making it certain that no Al-Qaeda inmates were among the escapees.

Several army and security field teams have been immediately set up to try to bring the escapees back to jail.

On Sunday, Al-Qaeda militants seized Radda town of Al-Bayda province, which borders the restive province of Abyan, a key stronghold of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, local sources said.

Yemen has been wrecked by months of political turmoil and unrest.

In June, nearly 60 suspected Al-Qaeda militants tunneled their way out of a prison in the southern Mukalla city, capital of the Hadramawt province.

Yemen's army has been fighting heavy gun battles with Al-Qaeda militants in several parts of the Arab nation that has been witnessing a massive uprising against the 32-year-old rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

After months of defying calls to stand down, Saleh had finally agreed to immediately hand his powers to his deputy and quit in 90 days.

Meanwhile, battles have been raging for months between Yemen's army and suspected Al-Qaeda militants for control of the southern city of Zinjibar. (end) az.mt KUNA 162024 Jan 12NNNN

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Publication:Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)
Geographic Code:7YEME
Date:Jan 16, 2012
Words:248
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