7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
World News

30 die as Iraq jail is stormed

BAGHDAD: Hundreds of militants stormed a jail in a pre-dawn raid to free inmates yesterday in the Sunni heartland north of Baghdad, triggering the deadliest firefight this year, which left 20 police and 10 insurgents dead.Authorities said all 33 prisoners in the lockup were freed.

Meanwhile, US President George W Bush predicted more tough fighting ahead in Iraq, but said he was convinced the country has avoided civil war.

He refused to say whether American troops would be completely out of Iraq by 2009, when he winds up his tenure in the White House.

The day after Iraq marked the third anniversary of the US-led invasion, army and police commandos were rushed to the town of Muqdadiya northeast of Baghdad to hunt down the large rebel force and recapture the prisoners they freed.

Mayor Alewi Farhan described a sophisticated operation lasting an hour and a half that involved 200 insurgents using an array of weapons.

"The insurgents pulled off a very well-planned attack," he said, describing how a car bomb sealed the eastern road to the site and a roadside bomb blocked the southern road, impeding reinforcements.

When reinforcements were rushed to the town, one commando was killed and another wounded. US forces responding to the attack also reported being ambushed but sustained no casualties.

Officials said at least 18 policemen and guards were killed, along with 10 rebels, in the raid on a compound housing the town's main police station, courthouse and municipal offices.

Insurgents battled Iraqi and US reinforcements, set fire to the police station, courthouse and 20 police vehicles before making their escape.

The freed detainees were being held on a number of criminal charges, including insurgent activity.

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