40 al-Qaeda Militants Stage Yemen Jailbreak It's a bad sign in Yemen's nearly lawless south By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff Posted Jun 22, 2011 7:02 AM CDT 0 comments Comments Al-Qaeda suspects are seen behind bars during their hearing in a special court in the Yemeni southeastern port of Mukalla, charged with terrorism-linked offenses on October 11, 2010. (Getty Images) (Newser) – More bad news out of southern Yemen: At least 40 al-Qaeda militants have escaped from a prison there, according to security officials. As bands of heavily armed militants attacked the Mukalla jail from without, the prisoners attacked their guards within, taking their weapons early today. The escapees include those convicted on terror charges, as well as some who were in custody pending a trial, the AP reports. The jailbreak is yet another sign that the unrest in Yemen has emboldened militants to challenge authorities in the southern part of the country. Even so, the head of the country's most powerful tribal confederation there warned yesterday that President Ali Abdullah Saleh should not be allowed to return home from Saudi Arabia, saying such a move could plunge the country into civil war.