The crackdown in Yemen reached a high pitch on Monday. At least 56 people have been killed over the past two days, in what is described as the most violent pushback yet against pro-democracy demonstrators. NBC's Brian Williams reports.
SANAA, Yemen - At least 10 al-Qaida militants tunneled out of a jail in Yemen on Monday, the second such escape so far this year.
A prison officer said at least 10 convicts got out through an up to 130 feet-long tunnel, which took the inmates from under the western side of the Aden prison to near a gas station outside the prison walls, The Associated Press reported.
BBC News reported that 12 militants had escaped.
The discrepancy in the number of escaped prisoners could not be immediately reconciled. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh agrees to transfer power amidst a nine-month uprising that has shaken the poor country. Meanwhile three Americans remain detained in Egypt. NBC's Thomas Roberts talks to the mother of one of the arrested Americans.
Yemen, the Arab world's poorest nation, has been wrecked by months of political turmoil and unrest. A popular uprising against longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh's rule — inspired by other Arab Spring revolts that toppled autocratic rulers in Egypt and Tunisia — has been met by a fierce government crackdown.
The crackdown triggered widespread defections earlier this year by soldiers and officers who joined the protest movement. Powerful tribes and their armed fighters also turned against Saleh and waged battles against his forces.
Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh was injured after the presidential palace was hit by shells on Friday, Al Arabiya TV reported Friday. NBC's Richard Engel reports.
Yemen is also home to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, which the U.S. considers the terrorist network's most active and dangerous offshoot. Islamic militants with links to the group have taken advantage of the country's turmoil to seize control of several towns in southern Yemen.
After months of street protests demanding he step down, Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh has signed an agreement transferring power to his vice president. NBC's Savannah Guthrie reports.
According to the United Nations, suspected al-Qaida fighters have displaced 45,000 people in southern Yemen.
Yemen has seen spectacular jailbreaks before.
In 2003, 11 al-Qaida militants convicted for the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, which killed 17 American sailors and injured 39 others, escaped from the Aden prison.
In 2006, 23 al-Qaida militants broke out of a detention facility in Sanaa, including Nasser al-Wahishi, who went on to become the leader of al-Qaida's Yemeni offshoot.
And in June, nearly 60 suspected al-Qaida militants tunneled their way out of a prison in the southern Mukalla city.
Msnbc.com staff and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Read more content from msnbc.com and NBC News:
- Last flight out: US vacates Pakistan base
- Russia's Medvedev orders election probe
- Brazil: 50 tons of corn stolen from moving train
- Ex-Panama strongman Noriega heads home to prison
- Tripoli airport closed after militias clash
- Brazil's 'Green City' a model for rest of Amazon