Baghdad Prison Uprising Leaves 17 Dead

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Photo: Sabah Arar/Getty Images

This weekend, a Baghdad prison uprising killed seventeen, including one top counterterrorism official and six security officers. Detained Al Qaeda leader Huthaifa al-Batawi incited the rebellion, escaping and killing prison officers as he was being led to an interrogation room around midnight last night. He then freed around a dozen additional inmates, who obtained a cache of weapons — and the group began shooting and killing guards. Along the way, they managed to shoot and kill Brigadier General Moayed al-Saleh, the head of counterterrorism in Baghdad, and several prison officers. Police were eventually able to corner and kill the eleven escaping inmates — including al-Batawi.

Al-Batawi had been held since October for his role as alleged mastermind in a church massacre that killed 60 worshipers and police. Around 38 of the jail's 200 inmates were said to have taken part in the October massacre — the largest targeted attack on Christians since the Iraq war began. Critics of the government blame carelessness for the uprising. “These terrorists took the benefit of carelessness,” said Iraqi security committee member Hakim al-Zamili. “The Iraqis are using the wrong strategy with prisoners and terrorists.”

Officers and Inmates Are Killed in Iraq Jail Revolt [NYT]
Al Qaeda boss snatches weapons, leads detainees in deadly uprising at Baghdad prison; 17 dead [NYDN]