* Deputy director also questioned
* Escape took place on Wednesday
ADEN, June 25 (Reuters) - Yemeni authorities have
detained the director of a prison for questioning over the
escape of 63 al Qaeda inmates earlier this week, state
television said on Saturday.
It said the deputy director of the al-Munawara prison in the
southern city of al-Mukalla also was detained for questioning.
It gave no further details.
The United States and regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia are
worried that Yemen, rocked by months of popular protests against
President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 33-year-old rule, could slide
into violence that would be exploited by the local al Qaeda wing
to launch attacks in the region and beyond.
The prisoners escaped on Wednesday after they dug a 35-m
(yard) long tunnel. They attacked prison guards, killing one and
wounding two, before they escaped, the state news agency Saba
It said security forces pursued the prisoners, killing three
and recapturing two.
Yemen state television said on Saturday that the body of a
fourth inmate had been found. It said he had been sentenced to
All the prisoners were Yemeni and most had been jailed after
returning from Iraq where they fought alongside militant, he
The current head of al Qaeda's wing in Yemen, Nasser
al-Wuhayshi, was among 23 prisoners who escaped from a Yemeni
jail in 2006.
Yemen is battling hundreds of Islamist militants associated
with al Qaeda who have seized control of the southern city of
Zinjibar and other adjacent towns.
(Writing by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Michael Roddy; Gulf
newsroom, +971 4 391 8301, fax +971 4 391 8335,
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