Yemeni Security Forces Thwart Al Qaeda Jailbreak

Prison guards quell mass-mutiny by Al Qaeda inmates at high-security prison in the country's capital.

Ari Soffer ,

AQAP leader Nasser al-Wuhayshi (center)
AQAP leader Nasser al-Wuhayshi (center)

Authorities in Yemen have managed to thwart a large-scale prison break in the country's capital Sanaa.

According to a prison official quoted by Al Jazeera, a mass-mutiny broke out at the high-security facility as "almost 300 al-Qaeda prisoners, armed with knives and iron bars, attacked prison guards, injuring some of them."

The rampaging prisoners managed to smash open their cell doors and break down the first security barrier out of the prison, seizing weapons from guards as they went.

They then used those weapons to attack security guards at the second barrier, but were pushed back as guards opened fire, injuring an unspecified number of prisoners.

This is just the latest incident in a series of jailbreaks or attempted jailbreaks by Al Qaeda and other Islamist groups.

Following a coordinated attack on an Iraqi prison which freed 500 Al Qaeda inmates, the leader of Yemen's Al Qaeda branch - Nasser al-Wuhayshi - wrote an open letter pledging to free all of Al Qaeda's imprisoned operatives.

Wuhayshi heads Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) - designated as the organization's deadliest franchize by the US government - and is himself an escapee from the very same Sanaa prison in February 2006, following which he was appointed the group's leader.