Al-Qaeda front organization, the Islamic State of Iraq, said on Friday that it carried out a jail breakout in which 19 prisoners escaped in late March, in a statement on jihadists sites on Friday.
The group said that its members were able “to drug the guards responsible for monitoring the prisoners at night... and then open a hole in the wall of one of the cells.”
“Nineteen mujahedeen (holy warrior) prisoners succeeded in leaving, among them some who were sentenced to death by the Safavid judiciary,” it said, using a derogatory term for Shiites derived from the name of the Safavid dynasty, which ruled what is now Iran from the 16th to 18th centuries.
The prisoners escaped early on March 23, according to a security official who said that the escapees included members of Qaeda and the Ansar al-Sunna militant group.
The group apparently drugged guards and fellow inmates using narcotic-laced dates that put them to sleep before breaking out of Al-Tasfirat prison in the northern oil hub of Kirkuk.
Of the 19, two were sentenced to death, while 17 faced various accusations including murder.