Hilla: Four prisoners and a guard were
killed in clashes at a prison in the central Iraqi city of
Hilla, during which eight inmates escaped, officials said
The clashes, in which nine people were also wounded, broke
out after a prisoner seized a rifle from a guard and killed
him, said Mohammed Ali al-Massudi, the governor of Babil
province, of which Hilla is the capital.
"It seems this operation was organised with the help of
other groups who helped the prisoners and were waiting for
them outside the prison," Massudi told a news conference in
Hilla, 95 kilometres south of Baghdad.
Prisoners also set fire to areas of the prison, he said.
"The prisoners who escaped are senior members of al Qaeda
and Shiite militias," said Haidar al-Zambur, a member of the
provincial council security committee, adding "they were all
sentenced to death."
Two silenced pistols were found on the inmates, he said,
adding the incident was under investigation.
A justice ministry spokesman said earlier the clashes
occurred on yesterday night, and put the initial toll at three
dead, while a first lieutenant in the Hilla police had said 15
inmates escaped, of whom three were later apprehended.
Zambur said this was the third attempted jailbreak from
The first was in 2006, when about 50 members of the Mahdi
Army, radical anti-US Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr`s
now-deactivated militia, managed to escape.
Prisoners also launched an unsuccessful escape attempt
last April, he said.
Jailbreaks and prison unrest are relatively common in
Six Iraqi police and 11 inmates were killed in a Baghdad
jail mutiny in May, while 12 suspected al Qaeda members
escaped from prison in the southern city of Basra in
mid-January. At least two of the Basra escapees have been