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Bombs, gunfire in deadly prison outbreak in Iraq

From Mohammed Lazim, for CNN
updated 7:48 AM EDT, Mon October 1, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Armed men blow up two car bombs at the gates of a jail in Tikrit, state news reports
  • 2 police and 1 soldier are killed, an official says; state news reports 26 security hurt or killed
  • 11 armed men -- dressed in police uniforms -- were killed, according to state news
  • A provincial governor says that 33 fugitives have been captured

A version of this story can be read in Arabic

Baghdad (CNN) -- Armed men detonated two car bombs Thursday at the gates of a jail in Tikrit, Iraq, triggering clashes with security forces that left at least 14 dead and led to the escape of dozens of prisoners, an Interior Ministry official and state news said.

Attackers took over the Tasfirat prison after setting off the car bombs and clashing with authorities, an Interior Ministry official said.

Some inmates attacked guards and held the head of the prison hostage, while others escaped, reported the state-run National Iraqi News Agency.

The Interior Ministry official said at least two policemen and an Iraqi Army soldier were dead. State news, meanwhile, reported at least 26 security officers were killed or injured, though it wasn't clear how many of those were dead. Eleven of the armed men were killed, the same report said.

The attackers wore police uniforms and used cars similar to those driven by police, a police source told the National Iraqi News Agency.

Afterward, security forces surrounded the jail and engaged in a battle to regain control from the armed men inside, the Interior Ministry official said.

Gunshots from both sides continued to ring out over the prison Thursday night as helicopters flew overhead, a security source said, according to the news agency.

The violence and outbreak prompted authorities to declare a curfew for Tikrit, in northern Iraq.

Ahmed Abdallah al-Jabouri, governor of Salaheddin province, said at a nighttime press conference that security forces had arrested 33 fugitives who had escaped. It was not immediately clear how many others were at large.

"The security forces are in control of the situation and were able to disassemble two car bombs that were ready to be exploded inside the city of Tikrit," said al-Jabour, as reported by the news agency.

Tasfirat is a temporary jailhouse for those awaiting trial and convicts who are waiting to be transferred to other prisons to serve out their terms.

CNN's Amir Ahmed contributed to this report.

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