An al-Qaeda inmate who went on the run after escaping from Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison led militants who killed his own brother and 10 others overnight, a general said Thursday.
The attack was the first attributed to one of more than 500 former prisoners, including senior Qaeda members, who escaped last month in a major security breach analysts say may bolster militant groups.
On Wednesday night, a group of militants went to the house of a policeman in Tikrit, north of Baghdad, took him into the garden and executed him, army Staff Lieutenant General Abdulamir al-Zaidi told AFP.
The policeman’s brother, a Qaeda member whose name was not given, led the group of killers, apparently in revenge for the man informing on him.
The militants then bombed the house and left a car bomb at the scene which exploded after a crowd of people arrived, killing 10 and wounding 58.
Zaidi said a file indicated the policeman had informed on his brother, who was arrested three years ago for multiple bombings and killings and given two death sentences, but who escaped during a mass breakout in July.
Militants assaulted Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad and another in Taji, to the capital’s north, on the night of July 21.
Officials said more than 500 inmates escaped and over 50 prisoners and members of the security forces were killed in the assaults claimed by Al-Qaeda front group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
The assaults and jailbreaks highlighted the growing reach of militants and the worsening security situation.
Violence killed almost 1,000 people in July, government figures show, making it Iraq’s deadliest month since April 2008.
Attacks have markedly increased this year, especially since an April 23 security operation at a Sunni Arab anti-government protest site that sparked clashes in which dozens died.
Protests erupted in Sunni-majority areas in late 2012, amid widespread discontent among Sunnis who accuse the Shiite-led government of marginalizing and targeting them.
Analysts say Sunni anger is the main cause of the spike in violence this year.
In addition to security problems, the government in Baghdad is also failing to provide adequate basic services such as electricity and clean water, and corruption is widespread.
Political squabbling has paralyzed the government, which has passed almost no major legislation in years.
- Muslim prisoners in London receive ‘goody-bag’ Eid packs
- U.S. senators urge release of political prisoners in Egypt
- Over 1,000 escape in Libya prison break, security says
- Revealed: How mass al-Qaeda members escaped Iraqi prisons
- Iraq gunmen launch deadly attack on Abu Ghraib and Taji prisons
- Israel to free 'around 80' Palestinian prisoners