Suspected al-Qaida militants seize town in Yemen

Witnesses say suspected al-Qaida militants have seized control of a small town in southern Yemen where police had withdrawn.

The takeover signals Yemen’s offshoot of Osama bin Laden’s group and other militants are seeking to make gains on the country’s deepening political turmoil, as protesters challenge the president’s rule.

The town of Jaar sits between an expanse of mountains where al-Qaida is active and the important port city of Aden, 20 miles (35 kilometers) to the southwest.

Resident Walid Mohammed said militants set up checkpoints Saturday and were seizing control of government buildings that had been left vacant.

During the six weeks of anti-government protests, security forces have either withdrawn or been forced out by residents of some cities and towns. AP