Gunmen stormed a prison in the Iraqi city of Tikrit this morning, killing 12 guards and freeing more than 90 prisoners. The attack took place in the early morning on Friday, with the militants briefly controlling all of the prison's gates. After several hours guards were able to retake the prison, but not before dozens of inmates—many of whom were there on terrorism charges and some serving death sentences—were able to flee into the night. The attack was apparently coordinated both inside and outside the prison, as inmates broke into a weapons storeroom just as a car bomb was set off outside the gates.
This was not the first time that the Tasfirat prison has been hit by violence. Just last week, police foiled a mass escape attempt after discovering a tunnel that prisoners were preparing to use for a breakout. A leading al Qaeda member reportedly escaped from the same jail in November of last year and in March 2011 a riot broke out with inmates' cells being set on fire as other convicts clashed with guards. (The picture above was taken in the aftermath of that incident.) Two inmates were killed in that riot.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.