Taliban rescues 300 prisoners from Pakistan jail

Pakistan, Reuters | Updated : 30 July 2013, 11:20 AM

Daylight video on Tuesday (July 30) showed the damage to a major prison in Northwest Pakistan that holds hundreds of Taliban and other militants.

Grenade-wielding Taliban fighters battled Pakistani security forces during a sophisticated midnight attack on the prison, police said on Monday (July 29).

Fighting continued into the early hours of Tuesday (July 30) and security forces said they had imposed a curfew on the city of Dera Ismail Khan, 200 miles (320 km) 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 detonated their explosives at the prison walls and some were in reserve, he said.

Up to 40 gunmen wearing police uniforms launched their attack by blowing up the electricity line to the prison and detonating heavy explosions that breached the outer walls, said provincial prisons chief Khalid Abbas.

He said it was completely dark inside so it was unclear what was going on.

The militants fought their way inside using rocket propelled grenades and machine-guns, district police chief Sohail Khalid said.

Mushtaq Jadoon, the town's civil commissioner, said dozens of prisoners had escaped. He said the Taliban had loudspeakers and they were calling the names of their friends.

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

The prison houses around 5,000 prisoners. Around 250 of them are Pakistani Taliban and members of banned sectarian groups such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, a Sunni militant group that has killed hundreds of Shi'ite civilians this year.

First Published: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 11:14 AM
Post Comment (+)