Massive Jailbreak Frees Hundreds From Abu Ghraib

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 22 2013 5:43 PM

While We Were Royal Watching: Massive Jailbreak Frees Hundreds From Abu Ghraib

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An Iraqi security officer patrols the grounds at the newly opened Baghdad Central Prison in Abu Ghraib on February 21, 2009 in Baghdad, Iraq

Photo by Wathiq Khuzaie/Getty Images

While much of the western world—or at least the western media—was occupied with the Great Royal Baby Watch of 2013, this happened, via Reuters:

Hundreds of convicts, including senior members of al-Qaida, broke out of Iraq's Abu Ghraib jail as comrades launched a military-style assault to free them, authorities said on Monday. ...
Suicide bombers drove cars packed with explosives to the gates of the prison on the outskirts of Baghdad on Sunday night and blasted their way into the compound, while gunmen attacked guards with mortars and rocket-propelled grenades. Other militants took up positions near the main road, fighting off security reinforcements sent from Baghdad as several militants wearing suicide vests entered the prison on foot to help free the inmates.
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At least ten policeman, along with four militants, were killed during the clashes that ensued before military helicopters arrived and brought the situation under control. By then, as many as 500 of the inmates had managed to high tail it out of the prison. According to a senior lawmaker on Iraq's defense committee, "most" of those who escaped were senior members of al-Qaida. "The security forces arrested some of them, but the rest are still free," Hakim Al-Zamili told Reuters. So yeah, there's that. Read more over at Reuters, which cites an unnamed security source saying that the attack was "obviously a terrorist attack by al-Qaida."

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Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.