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Iraq: Terror suspects escape from prison - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A policeman searches a vehicle at a checkpoint in Baghdad, on December 13, 2013 after more than 20 suspects escaped from a detention centre. (Reuters/Ahmed Saad)

A policeman searches a vehicle at a checkpoint in Baghdad on December 13, 2013, after more than 20 suspects escaped from a detention center. (Reuters/Ahmed Saad)

Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat—Dozens of detainees facing terrorism charges escaped from a Baghdad prison on Friday after killing at least one guard and seizing weapons, security sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

“At 4:00 a.m., 22 prisoners managed to escape from the headquarters of the federal police 8th brigade at Al-Adala Prison in the city of Kadhimiya, north of Baghdad,” said a security source speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity.

In a statement, an Iraqi interior ministry spokesman said that detainees falsely claimed there was an emergency in their cell, asking for help from the guards. They then attacked the guards and seized their weapons.

“The security forces have killed one and arrested the rest of the detainees,” with three escaped prisoners remaining at large, the spokesman added.

The parliamentary committee for security and defense said that the successive prison breaks in Iraq indicate a serious security breach in security.

In exclusive comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, Security and Defense committee member and MP Hamid Al-Mutlaq said: “These successive operations [prison breaks] have taken place using different methods,” adding, “Every time, we receive the same justification from the security apparatus, which either downplays the importance of such operations or claim to have foiled them.”

He said: “What is happening in prisons is only one aspect of the government’s failure to properly deal with the security file,” accusing Iraq’s security leadership of incompetence.

Mutlaq also accused unidentified officials of purposely “protecting the flaws in the security system for unknown reasons.”

The jailbreak on Friday was the latest in a series of such incidents in Iraq over the past year. Last July, as many as 500 Al-Qaeda-affiliated prisoners escaped from the Al-Taji and Abu Ghraib facilities, in the country’s largest prison break since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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