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Al-Qaeda Prisoners Break Out Of Abu Ghraib

Jeremy Fuster |
July 22, 2013 | 8:35 p.m. PDT

Executive Producer


Flag of the Islamic State of Iraq, a Sunni militant group affiliated with Al-Qaeda (Wikimedia)
Flag of the Islamic State of Iraq, a Sunni militant group affiliated with Al-Qaeda (Wikimedia)
Hundreds of convicts, including senior Al-Qaeda members on death row, escaped Iraq's Abu Ghraib jail on Monday after militants launched an attack on the compound that killed ten policemen, according to Reuters.


The attack began late Sunday night when suicide bombers blew open the gates to the prison with vehicles filled with explosives, militants armed with mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, and suicide vests then entered the prison to take out guards and free the inmates. Other inmates set up positions near the main road to prevent reinforcements called in from Baghdad from reaching the prison.


The attack continued until Monday morning, when military helicopters arrived to end the jailbreak. Security officials say that at least 500 inmates were able to escape, and that many of them "were convicted senior members of Al-Qaeda and had received death sentences."


An attack on a prison in Taji, located 12 miles north of Baghdad, also occurred Sunday night, but no inmates were able to escape. Sixteen soldiers and six militants were killed in the attempt.


The attack on Abu Ghraib, which first made news ten years ago when pictures of prisoner abuse at the compound by U.S. soldiers were released to the public, comes during the most violent month in Iraq in five years. Over 600 people have died in bomb attacks this month, including multiple car bombs on Sunday in Baghdad that killed 65.


The increase in violence is believed to be due to the rising tension between Sunni insurgents and the Shi'ite-led government that has taken control of Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein. The conflict has been worsened by the civil war in Syria, which has drawn attention from Sunni and Shi'ite militants from Iraq. Al-Qaeda has been linked to some Sunni militant groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq. 



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