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“The security forces have re-captured 349 inmates who escaped from Abu Ghraib prison last week, while search operations are underway,” Lieutenant General Abdul-Ameer Al-Shimmary, Commander of Baghdad Operations Command, told a news conference without giving further details about how many prisoners exactly escaped from the prison.
An Al-Qaeda statement last week said that more than 500 prisoners had been freed and that 120 government forces had been killed. Iraqi authorities at the time said 28 security personnel had been killed.
On Sunday, Al-Shimarry said that more than 100 “militants” and inmates had been killed.
Al-Shimmary’s statements came as a suicide car bomb Sunday killed at least 12 people, eight of whom were Kurdish security forces, in Tuz Khormato, 200 kilometres north of Baghdad.
In Baghdad’s central Karrada neighborhood, a bomb attached to a minibus killed three commuters and wounded nine others, police said. Another bomb went off before dawn near a teahouse in the capital’s northern al-Silaikh neighborhood, killing one and wounding 10 others, police said.
The prison raids and bombings are only the latest in a wave of violence that has swept throughout Iraq in the past four months killing more than 300 people and further weakening the Baghdad government’s hold on the country. Since the Muslim holy month of Ramadan began on July 10, the attacks have intensified and occur on a nearly daily basis.
Last week, 14 truck drivers and crew were killed with bullets to the head at a fake checkpoint set up by armed groups.
On July 19, 26 were killed and scores injured when a bomb hidden in air conditioning unit exploded during Friday prayers at the Abu Bakir al-Sideeq mosque in the town of Wijaihiya, 80 kilometres northeast of the capital Baghdad.
On July 14, attacks in Babil (Babylon), Nasiriya, and Kut, southeast of Baghdad, Falluja, Mosul and Basra killed 29 people and injured more than a hundred.