Blasts, gunfire near central prison rock Yemeni capital

Witnesses say explosions have rocked the Yemeni capital near the central prison followed by heavy gunfire and smoke billowing into the sky.

Roads to the airport were closed after witnesses say that several bombings were heard on Thursday night close to the prison.

Officials had no immediate comment. The witnesses spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared reprisals.

Militants led by al-Qaida's Yemeni offshoot have carried out a series of attacks in a bid to fight back against a government offensive aimed at uprooting it from strongholds in the south.