Dramatic Prison Breaks Trending as 250 Escape from Pakistan Jail

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Common Dreams

Dramatic Prison Breaks Trending as 250 Escape from Pakistan Jail

Hundreds of prisoners escape following similar episodes in Libya and Iraq

by
Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Indicating a clear strategic trend, hundreds of prisoners ran free following a prison break from a Pakistan jail late Monday night.

According to reports, one large bomb detonated outside Central Prison in the town of Dera Ismail Khan at roughly 11:30 PM, blowing a hole in the jail's walls. Then, as the Guardian reports, "around 70 gunmen, many dressed in police uniforms, then rushed through the gaps, throwing grenades and firing rocket-propelled grenades, killing six policemen and opening cells to free around 250 prisoners."

Reportedly the escapees include 24 "wanted terrorists."

The jail break follows on the heels of two similar episodes.

On Saturday, over 1000 prisoners escaped from a prison in Benghazi, Libya—though conflicting reports attribute the escape to either an attack from the outside or violence among military police spiraling into a fire and riot within.

Last Tuesday, a coordinated assault on both Iraq's Taji and Abu Ghraib prisons resulted in the freeing of hundreds of prisoners. Planned for months, the Iraq breaks involved multiple car bombs and were carried out by gunmen from the outside with help from a number of guards on the inside.

Following Monday's assault, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the incident. They've also claimed responsibility for the two breaks earlier this week, the Guardian adds.

Reportedly, the Taliban were helped by security insiders and, following the incident, an inquiry found there were "far fewer guards on duty than there should have been and those who were there lacked sufficient ammunition."

Describing the Pakistan incident as "extremely calculated," Al Jazeera correspondent Imtiaz Tyab, reporting from Islamabad, said that the infiltrators "were using loudspeakers and calling the individual names of inmates to come out of the badly damaged prison."

Ahead of the prison break, officials received a letter threatening such action, but according to the head of the local prison department Khalid Abbas, "they didn't expect it so soon."

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