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Yemen says 3 Qaeda inmates surrender after jailbreak

By Staff
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DUBAI, Feb 26 (Reuters) Three al Qaeda inmates who were part of a group that tunnelled out of a Yemeni jail this month have given themselves up to the authorities, President Ali Abdullah Saleh said in remarks published today.

Saleh told al-Hayat Arabic-language newspaper that security forces were also in contact with other fugitives among the group of 23 militants that escaped from a Sanaa jail in February.

He did not give any details about the escapees that had surrendered.

''So far, three have given themselves up and we are in contact with the rest of them and they are for certain still inside the country,'' Saleh said in an interview.

''They want to give themselves up and most of them have finished the majority of their sentence already.'' Some Saudi media had linked some of the escaped prisoners to a foiled attack on a major Saudi oil refinery on Friday.

The fugitives include the leaders of the 2000 bombing of the US warship Cole and the 2002 attack on the French supertanker Limburg as well as a Yemeni-American wanted by the United States.

The jailbreak has embarrassed Saleh's government, which is battling Islamists militants, and raised questions about Yemen's security measures among its Western allies.

The government has offered a 25,500 dollars reward for information that would lead to the arrest of any of the fugitives.

REUTERS PR RAI1350

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