Riots break out at prison in northern Iraq

10:31, March 14, 2011      

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Riot broke out after a prison break in central the city of Tikrit, the capital of Salahudin province, in north of Baghdad on Sunday, wounding at least two guards, a provincial police source said.

"Riot erupted as dozens of inmates clashed in the afternoon with the prison guards and set fire to part of the building of the al-Tasfirait prison in Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad," a source from the provincial operations command told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

"Some detainees, several of them were al-Qaida suspects, took advantage of the chaos to escape, the source said, adding that the number of escaped detainees was not immediately known.

At least two guards were wounded in the clashes which ended after nearly two hours after the prison's officials used tear gas, the source added.

Iraqi security forces cordoned off the scene and imposed indefinite curfew on the city of Tikrit, while many military vehicles were seen patrolling the city searching for the escaped prisoners, he said.

The prison contains more than 400 inmates, many of them were al- Qaida members, and some of them got verdicts of death penalties, he added.

Prison breaks frequently occurred in Iraq, including the prison break of Basra in southern the country earlier this year when 12 suspected al-Qaida members ran away from their cells. Tikrit itself was the scene for a previous prison break when 16 al-Qaida suspects escaped in 2009.

Salahudin province, located in northern Iraq, is mainly Sunni province. Its capital city of Tikrit is the hometown of former president Saddam Hussien.

Source: Xinhua
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