Skip to main content

Prisons, army, mosque targeted in Iraq; nearly 50 dead

By Mohammed Tawfeeq and Joe Sterling, CNN
updated 11:18 AM EDT, Tue July 23, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Hundreds of prisoners escape, lawmaker says
  • At least 29 guards and inmates die in prison-break attempts
  • Sectarian and political violence in Iraq has erupted in recent months
  • Bombers rock Mosul, leaving 20 dead

(CNN) -- Violence exploded in Iraq over the past 24 hours near Baghdad and in Mosul, leaving nearly 50 people dead and hundreds of al Qaeda-linked militants free in a massive jailbreak, authorities said Monday.

Security forces battled militants outside two major penitentiaries near the Iraqi capital of Baghdad and thwarted prison breaks, the Justice Ministry said Monday. The incidents occurred Sunday night at Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad, and al-Taji prison, north of the capital.

The Justice Ministry said well-armed "terrorist groups" attacked the prisons simultaneously using mortars. They also carried rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns, and were accompanied by suicide bombers and car bombs, the ministry said.

Blast during sermon in Iraq mosque kills at least 18

The attacks coincided with riots by inmates who set fires inside the prisons, the ministry said. At least 21 inmates and at least eight prison guards were killed, it said, while 25 inmates and 14 guards were wounded.

More than 500 inmates escaped from the two jails Sunday night, lawmaker Hakim al-Zamili said Monday. Most were from al Qaeda in Iraq, and some were senior members of the group.

The ministry did not announce the number of escapees, but it said it has formed committees to count the number of inmates in each prison and will announce the number.

Bombers trike in Iraq; more than 20 dead

Two attacks on Monday rocked Mosul, the northern Iraq metropolis. A suicide bomber blew himself up at an Iraqi army post in the Kokjili district in northern Mosul in the morning, police said. At least 16 people were killed and 21 were wounded. Both civilians and soldiers were among the victims.

Later, at least four people were killed and two were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near a Sunni mosque in the al-Muthana neighborhood of central Mosul, police said.

The deadly fighting is the latest in a string of violence in recent months, much of it stemming from discord between Sunnis and Shiites. Sunnis have long felt politically marginalized under a Shiite-led government in the post-Saddam Hussein era. They enjoyed more political clout during Hussein's rule, before his ouster after the U.S.-led 2003 invasion.

See also: Baghdad bombings target mostly Shiite neighborhoods

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 12:44 AM EST, Mon December 29, 2014
The missing AirAsia jet probably crashed into the sea, Indonesia's top rescue official said Monday, citing radar data from the plane's last contact.
updated 2:26 AM EST, Mon December 29, 2014
Here are four ways the two incidents appear to differ.
updated 2:48 AM EST, Mon December 29, 2014
Hundreds of passengers have endured a freezing night on a ferry, more than 24 hours after a fire broke out on the vessel in the Adriatic Sea.
updated 9:54 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
updated 7:24 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
updated 1:44 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
updated 8:06 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
updated 12:06 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France, during the World Wide Web 2012 international conference on April 18, 2012 in Lyon.
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
updated 3:22 AM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
updated 4:00 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
updated 6:34 AM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
updated 12:01 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT