Dozens killed and 40 prisoners escape in Iraqi jail break

Khalis, IraqREUTERS/Helmiy al-AzawiAn Iraqi soldier stands guard near the site of a bomb attack in Khalis, 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Baghdad, May 22, 2010.

Baghdad (AFP) – Six guards and 30 detainees were killed in a prison break north of Baghdad during which 40 inmates also escaped, an interior ministry spokesman said Saturday.

The spokesman said the break on Friday started when an inmate took a weapon from a warden at the prison on the main police compound in Khalis, a town around 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of Baghdad.

The prison was holding 300 people charged with acts of terrorism.

“The inmates started fighting among themselves which drew the attention of the police guards who went to break up the fight,” a police source, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

“Then the prisoners attacked them, stripped them of their weapons and started a riot while also managing to capture the armory of the prison.”

Iraq’s government faces multiple security challenges, including from Islamic State militants who have seized large parts of the north and west, and widespread sectarian violence.

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