Nine dead in Iraq military prison clash
Iraqi soldiers stand guard near a prison where nine people died Wednesday after a firefight erupted.
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Nine people died when clashes broke out between guards and prisoners at an Iraqi military base in northern Baghdad Wednesday morning, U.S. military and Iraqi officials said.
The incident occurred at al Addala base in Baghdad's Kadimiya neighborhood, which houses suspects accused of major crimes, including terrorism. Iraqis and foreign nationals are being held at the base.
According to the Justice Ministry, three guards took three prisoners out for cleaning duty.
The three prisoners attacked the guards and disarmed one before killing all three and beginning to free other prisoners, the ministry said.
Other prison guards and the Iraqi army responded to the attack, and an hour-long firefight ensued against seven armed prisoners; four detainees, another guard and a translator were killed, the ministry said.
The gunbattle wounded three guards and eight detainees, three of them seriously; no prisoners escaped during the firefight, which was confined to a building that contains the prison cells.
The U.S. military said "16 prisoners attempted to escape the facility after first storming the armory and obtaining an undetermined number of weapons."
The military said that one U.S. soldier was also wounded in the firefight, noting that there had been U.S. trainers on the Iraqi base at the time. The military account said five prisoners were injured.
Violence claims ministry official
Meanwhile, an official in Iraq's Interior Ministry was gunned down in western Baghdad's al Yarmouk neighborhood Tuesday evening, according to emergency police.
Gunmen sprayed Col. Haider Ali with bullets, killing him instantly, while he was outside his car, a police official said.
Separately, the director general of Diyala municipalities escaped an assassination attempt Wednesday morning when gunmen attacked his car east of Baquba -- an assault that wounded two of his guards, an official with the Diyala Joint Coordination Center told CNN.
Mujwal Mehdi was traveling on a road between Kanan and Baquba about 12 miles (20 km) east of Baquba when the gunmen opened fire around 8 a.m. (12 a.m. ET.)
Mehdi's guards were taken to a Baquba hospital for treatment.
Also Wednesday morning, two Iraqi police were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near their patrol in northern Baghdad's al Waziriya neighborhood, emergency police said.
In southern Baghdad, police found a body in a drainage canal in the al-Dora district. The body has not been identified, the police said.
Elections protested, defended
A U.N. elections official in Iraq, Craig Jenness, said that the December 15 parliamentary elections "were in accordance with international standards" and there is no need for new nationwide balloting -- a demand of many unhappy with the polling.
One of the top critics of the electoral process -- former interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi -- told CNN that a nationwide re-vote would not be practical.
In recent days, there have been mass demonstrations against the election process across the country, including one on Wednesday in Samarra -- which is north of Baghdad in the Sunni heartland. (Full story)
CNN's Arwa Damon and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.
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