* 62 prisoners flee after attack on jail compound
* One soldier killed, 2 wounded in jailbreak
(Adds detail, background)
ADEN, Yemen, June 22 (Reuters) - Dozens of al Qaeda
militants escaped from a jail in southern Yemen on Wednesday
following an attack on the compound, a security official said.
Western countries and neighboring Saudi Arabia fear al Qaeda
is exploiting instability in Yemen to gain a foothold in the
impoverished state and launch attacks in the region and beyond.
One soldier was killed and two were wounded when militants
opened fire on al-Munawara prison in the southern port city of
"The militants opened fire on the prison gates and exchanged
fire with the guards, injuring two and killing one," the
security official said, adding 62 prisoners had fled.
All the prisoners were Yemeni and most of them had been
jailed after returning from Iraq where they fought in militant
ranks, he said.
Opponents of long-time ruler President Ali Abdullah Saleh
accuse him of allowing Islamist militants to seize Zinjibar, the
capital of the flashpoint southern province of Abyan, last
month, to promote the notion only he can prevent an Islamist
(Reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf, Writing by Isabel Coles)
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