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The statement also said Jaar residents have found the bodies of 20 militants and two soldiers killed in last week’s fighting.

Muqbel Shaddad, a Jaar resident, said over the phone that the bodies were scattered in bushes and around the countryside.

An Interior Ministry official said five al Qaeda militants detained for carrying out terror attacks escaped Tuesday from a prison in the port city of Hudayda. One of the detainees was believed to be a senior al Qaeda member.

BAHRAIN

3 police officers face murder charges in shootings

MANAMA — Bahrain said Tuesday that three police officers on trial over killing demonstrators during street protests last year will face murder charges and could face the death penalty.

The defendants, who were not named, include a police lieutenant, according to a statement by the Gulf nation’s Information Affairs Authority. They originally were being tried on the lesser charge of manslaughter.

They are on trial for three separate shooting deaths that occurred in February and March 2011.

Conviction on manslaughter charges carries a maximum sentence of seven years in prison, but a murder conviction can result in life imprisonment or the death penalty, according to the Information Affairs Authority statement.

“If convicted of murder, employees of the Ministry of Interior are likely to receive the toughest penalties allowed by law,” it added.

A report issued in November by a commission authorized by Bahrain’s Sunni Muslim rulers cited medical reports that found all three victims were shot from close range. The report determined that their deaths were the result of excessive force by police.

The officers’ trial resumes July 10.

From wire dispatches and staff reports