‘Terrorism’ suspects escape in Iraq

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Destroyed cars lie at the scene of an explosion at the bird market in the north Baghdad Shiite neighbourhood of Kadhimiyah on February 8, 2013. Picture: ALI AL-SAADI

Baghdad -

At least 22 “terrorism” suspects escaped a Baghdad detention facility on Friday after killing two guards, though most were later recaptured, security officials said.

One of the escaped detainees was killed by security forces, while other attacks in Iraq killed another nine people.

The escapes were the latest in a long line of jailbreaks in Iraq, including coordinated assaults claimed by an al-Qaeda-linked group on two prisons in July, in which more than 500 inmates broke out and dozens of people were killed.

Accounts varied of the number of detainees who escaped from the facility in the north Baghdad area of Kadhimiyah on Friday.

A police colonel said detainees had seized weapons from guards early on Friday, killing two, after which 26 people arrested for “issues related to terrorism” escaped.

Security forces killed one escaped detainee and captured 14, the colonel said, and a medical official confirmed two guards and a detainee had been killed.

An interior ministry official said eight escapees were still on the run, while the ministry itself issued a statement saying 22 suspects had escaped but one was killed and all but three others captured.

In July, militants launched coordinated assaults on two prisons near Baghdad, sparking clashes with security forces that lasted for hours.

More than 500 prisoners, including senior al-Qaeda leaders, escaped. The clashes also killed 20 members of the security forces and 21 prisoners, officials said.

Also on Friday, a suicide bomber detonated an explosives-rigged vehicle near a group of security forces in Ramadi, west of Baghdad. The blast killed a civilian and two soldiers and wounded four policemen and three soldiers.

In Baghdad itself, gunmen shot dead two people, one of them a trade ministry employee, in the Ghazaliyah area.

And in Nahrawan, near the capital, a car bomb exploded near a fish market, killing four people and wounding at least 12.

Violence in Iraq reached a level this year not seen since 2008, when the country was emerging from a brutal period of sectarian bloodshed.

More people died in the first eight days of this month than in the whole of last December, according to AFP figures based on security and medical sources. - AFP

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