SANAA, Yemen (AP) -- Security officials and witnesses say Islamic militants have stormed a supermarket in Yemen's southern city of Aden, firing into the air and taking hostages.
They say about 30 militants arrived at the supermarket in four pickup trucks on Sunday afternoon. Shoppers fled when the militants fired in the air, but an unknown number were trapped inside the facility when the gunmen locked the doors.
The witnesses say the militants shouted that they were protesting the mingling of men and women in the supermarket and demanded that female employees cover their faces, in keeping with a strict interpretation of Islamic law.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. The witnesses insisted on anonymity because they feared reprisals.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
Yemeni security officials in the government-controlled southern port city of Aden say suspected al-Qaida gunmen have broken into the city's main prison, freeing an individual suspected of attacking the compound of Aden's former governor in August.
The officials told the AP on Sunday that the gunmen carried out the operation overnight.
Four people were killed in the August rocket-propelled grenade attack on the former governor's compound. The former governor and other officials who were present at the time were not hurt.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.
Yemen has been embroiled in fighting between Shiite rebels and allied army units against forces loyal to the internationally recognized government as well as southern separatists and other militants.