TEHRAN, (Reuters) – Two murder convicts escaped after a rocket-propelled grenade was fired at a jail in southwest Iran on Saturday, wounding up to 19 people, media reported.
A third inmate who managed to break out after the blast at the central prison in the city of Ilam was quickly recaptured, police colonel Aziz Abdi was quoted as saying by the semi-official Mehr News Agency.
Three prison guards were among the wounded in the incident in a region bordering Iraq, Mehr added.
“The culprits, who used getaway cars to escape from the scene of the incident, are at large now and the police are after them,” the official IRNA news agency quoted provincial Governor Nourollah Arjomandi as saying.
Arjomandi said the blast was caused by a rocket-propelled grenade aimed at one of the prison’s walls, but that there were no deaths, IRNA said.
“The explosion caused damage to the residential units around and broke window panes within a radius of 500 metres and a number of cars were damaged,” Arjomandi said.
State television said the suspected motive of the blast was to free a number of prisoners and that at least five people were wounded. They received medical care but were later allowed to leave hospital. Mehr put the number of wounded at 19.
English-language Press TV said on its website: “Security officials later reported that two of the prison inmates, who were serving time for murder, managed to escape in the turmoil.”
Murder is a crime punishable by death in the Islamic Republic.
Ilam, which is also the name of the province, is a mountainous region bordering Iraq, and home to tribal people as well as ethnic Kurds.