An Iraqi prison in the city of Tikrit was seized by gunmen after feral fighting between guards resulted in two deaths, on Thursday, security officials said.
The attack followed the announcement from Al-Qaeda’s Iraqi front group which said the group would crusade to reacquire control of the territory and free its’ jailed members, The Daily Starreports.
Salaheddin provincial deputy governor Ahmed Abdul Jabbar Abdul Karim spoke with AFP news agency:
“The attackers are controlling all the (entrances and exits) and the observation towers, and … security forces are surrounding the prison.”
An officer said the death toll from the attack was at four police and two gunmen, Al Jazeerareported.
The city of Tikrit is 160 kilometers north of Baghdad and is the ancestral land of previous leader Saddam Hussein.
It is difficult to decided how the fighting broke out because some accounts say fighting began outside, others say a riot had broken out inside, others say perhaps both.
According to The Daily Star, a colonel said the fighting is still continuing:
“The prisoners killed one policeman and wounded [prison director] Brigadier General Laith al-Sagmani. The gunmen took control of the prison, and clashes are continuing.”
Clashes continue within the prison and a curfew was announced in the city.
Witnesses say prisoners escaped after militants blew up part of the fence, stealing weapons from guards as they fled the scene.
Similar tactics were used in attacks from July and August.
On August 1, gunmen tried to break through a prison gate in Taji, north of Baghdad. Similar attacks had happened the day before in what the Interior Ministry said was an attempt to break out prisoners.