Baghdad prison mutiny leaves 18 dead


 Sunday May 08, 2011

A deadly mutiny between an insurgent inmate and police officers at a Baghdad interior ministry jail complex has claimed lives of eight policemen and 10 detainees.

The mutiny began when Hodayfa al-Batawi, the mastermind of Baghdad’s deadly church siege in October 2010, snatched an officer’s gun in the middle of an interrogation and killed his interrogator, AFP reported on Sunday.

He then released a group of fellow inmates, who made their way to the office of head of counter-terrorism for Baghdad’s central Karrada district Moayed al-Saleh and shot him dead. They later discovered a cache of weapons and grenades.

Among the eight policemen killed in Sunday’s incident was a lieutenant colonel and two first lieutenants, a senior counter-terrorism official said on condition of anonymity.

“This cell, which was dismantled in November, was accused of a large number of terrorist operations — not just the one against the church,” the official said.

According to the official, six other people were wounded in the fighting at the interior ministry detention facility, but he did not elaborate more on the matter.

The security reinforcements, however, killed the group of five when the insurgents stormed out of the prison in order to escape.

The remaining five were holed up inside the prison and were killed at 4:30 am (0130 GMT) on Sunday.

Batawi was being interrogated as the Iraqi officials were reportedly seeking intelligence of possible terrorist attacks in the wake of the killing of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by American forces in Pakistan.

The Iraqi security forces have tightened security measures across the war-ravaged country in a bid to prevent bin Laden followers’ from carrying out possible retaliatory attacks.

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