29 Escaped in al-Qaeda Attack on Yemen Prison

11 Killed in Attack on Sanaa Central Prison

A major jailbreak has been reported in the Yemeni capital city of Sanaa, where al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula attacked the Central Prison, freeing at least 29 inmates and leaving at least 11 people dead.

Explosions could be heard throughout the northern part of the city as the attack was launched, and the Yemeni Interior Ministry confirmed the prison was hit, first by a car bomb and then by gunmen.

The interior ministry downplayed the situation, saying that the guards fought off the attackers and that only around 14 prisoners “fled amid the chaos.” They revised it upward to 29, and other reports have indicated that many of those who fled were AQAP members, however, and that this was an organized jailbreak, not a serious attempt to “capture” the prison.

AQAP’s current leader Nassar al-Wuhayshi has vowed to free imprisoned AQAP members from the Sanaa prison. He was held there himself and managed to escape during a similar prison break in 2006.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.