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Armed attacks on 2 prisons near Iraq's capital kill 29


20:27, July 22, 2013

BAGHDAD, July 22 (Xinhua) -- At least 29 people, including prison workers and inmates, were killed and 39 others wounded in overnight coordinated attacks on two prisons near the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, an Iraqi official said on Monday.

"The attacks by terrorist groups on the two prisons of Taji and Abu Ghraib occurred simultaneously last night at about 8:30 p.m. local time (1730 GMT), killing eight and wounding 14 prison staff members, while 21 inmates were killed and 25 other prisoners were wounded," Hamid al-Mousawi, head of the reform department of the country's Justice Ministry told reporters.

The attackers used more than 100 mortar rounds, dozens of rocket-propelled grenades, assault rifles and three car bombs, and employed nine suicide bombers in their attacks, said Mousawi, whose department is responsible for governing prisons in Iraq.

Mousawi did not give details about how many soldiers and policemen had been killed or wounded by the attacks, nor did he say how many prisoners had escaped from the prisons.

Earlier in the day, an Interior Ministry source told Xinhua that at least 12 were killed and more than 56 others wounded in the attacks, which also resulted in the escape of some prisoners.

It was not immediately clear how many of the gunmen were killed, wounded or captured.

On Sunday night, dozens of gunmen tried to storm Taji and Abu Ghraib prisons, respectively north and west of Baghdad, the source said.

By Monday noon, the Iraqi security forces had brought the situation under control in the two prisons, and thousands of troops deployed in western and northern Baghdad are carrying out search operations to hunt down escaped prisoners and gunmen, he said.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the al-Qaida front in Iraq, in most cases, were responsible for similar suicide bombings in the country.

On July, 2012, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the top leader of the self- styled Islamic State of Iraq, an al-Qaida front in the country, launched a plan dubbed "Breaking the walls" aimed at releasing al- Qaida prisoners and targeting the country's judges and investigators.

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