Al Qaeda suspects escape Iraq prison in deadly break
Prisoners seized weapons and set off hours-long clashes with security guards at a prison in Saddam Hussein’s hometown that left 12 dead, including 10 guards, before dozens of inmates managed to escape from the facility, Iraqi officials said Friday.
The escaped prisoners included al-Qaida suspects, said a provincial spokesman, though he could not say whether the terror group was behind the jailbreak in Tikrit, 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad.
It was the latest embarrassing security lapse in Iraq, raising questions about the Shiite-led government’s ability to ensure the country’s security in the wake of the U.S. troop withdrawal last December.
The prison riot erupted on Thursday night, said Mohammed al-Assi, the spokesman for Salahuddin province where Tikrit is the provincial capital. Several inmates broke into the prison storeroom, grabbing weapons that were kept there and overpowering the guards, he said.