Hundreds of inmates escaped Iraq's Abu Ghraib

Hundreds of inmates escaped Iraq's Abu Ghraib
Mon Jul 22, 2013 15:06:31

Hundreds of prisoners, most of them al-Qaeda linked terrorists, have escaped from a prison in Iraqi capital, following a raid by a group of extremist gunmen on the facility, a top Iraqi politician has said.

Member of the security committee in Iraqi parliament, Hakim Abbas Mousa al-Zamili, told a news conference in Baghdad on Monday that between 500 to 1000 prisoners escaped the Baghdad Central Prison (previously known as Abu Ghraib) after gunmen opened fire at the facility on Sunday night.

Most of the escaped were al-Qaeda linked detainees, Zamili said.

Gunmen attacked two prisons near Baghdad - Taji to the north and Abu Ghraib to the west - killing at least 25 members of the security forces.

The prison attacks were launched at about 9:30 pm local time (1830 GMT) on Sunday night.

Gunmen fired mortar rounds at Taji prison, 20 km north of Baghdad, and a suicide car bomber then attacked the main gate.
At Abu Ghraib jail a group of policemen were killed during a similar mortar attack.

Fighting continued throughout the night, and the military deployed aircraft around the two prisons.

Iraq has seen a surge in violence since the beginning of the year.

A wave of violence began on April 23 when militants invaded security checkpoints near the town of Hawijah in north Iraq, sparking clashes in which 53 people were killed.

Dozens more died in subsequent unrest, including attacks targeting security forces in Kirkuk, Nineveh, Diyala and Anbar provinces, raising fears of a return to the all-out conflict that took the lives of tens of thousands of people from 2006 to 2008.

In April Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki warned of attempts to return Iraq to "sectarian civil war".

Maliki called on everyone worried about Iraq's future "to take the initiative, and not be silent about those who want to take the country back to sectarian civil war."

He recently called for joint Sunni-Shia Friday prayers as a show of unity among Muslims and a move to foil enemy attempts to sow discord in the country.


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