Skip to comments.Gunmen Kill 20 in Breakout at Iraqi Jail
Posted on 03/21/2006 9:49:36 PM PST by BlackVeil
BAGHDAD, Iraq - About 100 masked gunmen stormed a prison near the Iranian border Tuesday, cutting phone wires, freeing all the inmates and leaving behind a scene of devastation and carnage 20 dead policemen, burned-out cars and a smoldering jailhouse.
At least 10 attackers were killed in the dawn assault on the Muqdadiyah lockup on the eastern fringe of the Sunni Triangle, police said. The raid showed the mostly Sunni militants can still assemble a large force, capable of operating in the region virtually at will even though U.S. and Iraqi military officials said last year that the area was no longer an insurgent stronghold.
The insurgency's strength, spiraling sectarian violence and the stalemate over forming a government in Iraq have led politicians and foreign policy experts to say Iraq is on the brink or perhaps in the midst of civil war.
In all, 33 prisoners were freed, including 18 insurgents who were detained Sunday during raids by security forces in the nearby villages of Sansal and Arab, police said. It was the capture of those insurgents that apparently prompted Tuesday's attack. The 15 other inmates were a mix of suspected insurgents and common criminals.
In an Internet posting Tuesday night, the military wing of the Mujaheddin Shura Council, a militant Sunni Muslim insurgent group, purportedly claimed it carried out the operation. The posting said the group killed "40 policemen, liberated 33 prisoners and captured weapons."
The claim was posted on the Iraqi News Web site. Neither the higher casualty toll among policemen nor the captured weapons could not be independently verified.
The cutting of the telephone lines made it impossible for jailers or security men, who apparently did not have cell phones, to call other police for backup. Residents of the town informed authorities of the situation after hearing the firing.
With the wires cut, the insurgents had 90 minutes to battle their way into the law enforcement compound before police reinforcements showed up from the nearby villages of Wajihiyah and Abu Saida, police said. Muqdadiyah is about 25 miles from the Iranian frontier and 60 miles northeast of Baghdad.
By the time the insurgents fled, taking away the bodies of many of their dead compatriots, nearly two dozen cars were shot up and set on fire and the jail was a charred mass of twisted bunk bed frames and smoldering mattresses.
Afterward, U.S. helicopters hovered in the air above the jail. Police said residents fired into the air, but it was not clear if the American aircraft were the target. None was hit.
It was not the first time militants have targeted a jail.
On April 20, 2004, insurgents fired 12 mortars into the infamous Abu Ghraib prison on the outskirts of Baghdad, killing 22 inmates and wounding 92. A U.S. general speculated the attack may have been an attempt to spark a prison break or an uprising.
In other violence Tuesday, a roadside bomb killed one policeman and wounded three in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, authorities said.
A U.S. soldier with the 4th Infantry Division was killed by small-arms fire Tuesday while patrolling western Baghdad, the U.S. military reported. At least 2,315 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.
Also in the capital, gunmen killed an employee of the mayor's office while he was driving in the Dora neighborhood of south Baghdad.
Police reported discovering eight more blindfolded corpses in west Baghdad, some of them under a highway and showing signs of torture, officials said. In Suwera, 50 miles south of Baghdad, four more corpses were found on the bank of the Tigris River.
The execution-style killings have become an almost daily occurrence in a wave of sectarian violence that has left more than 1,000 Iraqis dead since the bombing last month of a Shiite shrine.
Separately, an Iraqi cameraman working for CBS News and jailed nearly a year ago was due to go on trial Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the network said.
The spokeswoman, Sandy Genelius, said a U.S. military official informed the network late Tuesday night in Baghdad of the impending trial of Abdul Ameer Younis Hussein in an Iraqi court. She said Hussein has been held in Abu Ghraib and, according to the U.S. military, is accused of instigating a crowd near the site of a car bomb attack on a coalition patrol last April in Mosul.
"All we are seeking is due process for Mr. Hussein," Genelius said.
She said he faces life in prison if convicted.
Netscape news ran this story as "Gunmen free hostages". No kidding! I thought maybe our guys did a rescue.
When I saw an earlier report of this story, it had some ambiguous headline, and I thought it was the Israelis breaking into a Palestinian jail again.
And then the tone of the reporter's voice was so Drama Queen, it was nauseating. He was doing the doom-and-gloom theater in a manner that would put an overactor like Michael Crawford to shame.
The MSM is getting so desperate, it's sad to watch them.
Another feeding frenzy by the near-hysterical cynics. It's like "Hey, Bush promised us complete success within two weeks without a single casualty or a single setback."
Meanwhile, I read on the news ticker of Afghan soldiers surrounding 16 Taliban in the mountains -- one Afghan soldier wounded, all Talis killed or captured. Did CNN mention that? A slow news day for them is when there is no NEGATIVE news to report!
Keep us posted, Allegra, we count on you for critical details like that.
Stay safe. We all love you.
Thank you and God bless you for your kind and thoughtful words.
I just love all the photos you post on your profile. Please keep adding more!!!!
Stay safe and keep up the good work.
I'm so glad he's home and can't thank him and his brothers-in-arms enough for what they do.
But after a trip there I must say that it is truly a very magical place. If the mouse hadn't drained the Clan Vacation Fund I would be looking at another trip there next year.
As it stands now, we're very desirous of taking a Disney Cruise in '08.
Oooooo. I'd LOVE to do the Disney cruise, but I just can't talk hubby into going on ANY cruise. He's afraid of a terrorist attack of some kind. (In a way, I kinda don't blame him.) After he got back from Iraq he had a VERY hard time leaving the house without a weapon. He's better now, but he never feels as safe as he used to anymore. He'll fly anywhere, however. Go figure. :P
What I won't do is fly commercial aircraft any longer. It's not because I'm afraid of flying or terrorists. I won't do it because it's become uncivilized.
Although, come to think of it, there is precedent for terrorists hijacking a cruise ship. The name Klinghoffer should ring some bells around here.
We're thinking of the Disney Caribbean cruise in '08.
I too have a hard time leaving my home without a weapon.
That's why I never do it.
So after 50 years the Shiites are finally pushing back. 'Bout time. The Sunni tards will catch on eventually.
The Shiites and IA are much better then the Coalition at finding and eliminating the Sunni and foreign insurgents. The 'civil war' is nothing but a huge force mulitplier for the Coalition. Being in the majority the Shiites have no need for a civil war or an insugency. They'll take care of the Sunnis insurgents.
So, you still trolling route Irish?
Only when I have to. You?
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