Inmates escape in violent Taliban attack on Pakistan prison

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Originally published on July 30, 2013

Taliban militants launched an attack on a prison in northwest Pakistan using rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns late Monday night. Some 40 gunmen dressed in police uniforms first blew up electricity lines leading to the prison before firing upon the facility with weapons. Police said the prison, located in Dera Ismail Khan, houses around 5,000 prisoners, some 250 of whom are Pakistani Taliban and other members of banned sectarian groups, but it is unclear how many escaped during the attack.

Reuters reports, "Fighting continued into the early hours of Tuesday, and security forces said they had imposed a curfew on the city, Dera Ismail Khan, 200 miles west of Lahore.

"The Pakistani Taliban sent 100 fighters and seven suicide bombers on a mission to free some of their top leaders, said Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid.

"He said they had freed around 300 prisoners, a claim that could not immediately be verified. Some of the suicide bombers had blown up at the prison walls and some were in reserve, he said.

"The gunmen also took over a nearby house and hospital, holding the residents hostage as they fired on police from the rooftops and laid ambushes for reinforcements.
Police Constable Gul Mohammed said he was rushing to the scene when he was challenged by two young boys holding rifles.

"The number of casualties was unclear because the fighting was ongoing. Police said they had called for military reinforcements."

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