Abu Ghraib Prison Attacked by Gunmen in Iraq: Reports

July 21, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

Reports on Sunday said that Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq was attacked by gunmen–some armed with RPGs–on Sunday.

UPDATE: Al Jazeera reported that the facility was hit by rocket-propelled grenades on Sunday night. A prison in Taji was also attacked.

Police and attack helicopters were deployed to fend off the attack.

It was confirmed that hundreds of prisoners–some terror suspects–escaped from the prison after the attack.

Charles Lister, with IHS Jane’s Terrorism & Insurgency Centre–an intelligence organization, wrote that a “senior ISIS commander claims Abu Ghraib & Taji prison attacks have been a success. Convoys of escaped prisoners now en route to ‘safety.'” At around 6 p.m., Lister added that “several jihadi sources claim fighting is over at Abu Ghraib.” 

Lister added there were clashes at the Taji prison, located north of Baghdad, as well. “Jihadis claiming fighting is confirmed as ongoing at Taji prison & on main highway out,” he wrote.

Reporter Hyder Abbasi wrote: “Al Qaeda in Iraq trying to free prisoners from Abu Ghraib, outside #Baghdad. Follows two days of bombings killing more than 60 people.” 

Abu Ghraib, located outside of Baghdad, was famously known as the prison that experienced notoriety for the torture and abuse of prisoners carried out by U.S. soldiers.

Jane Arraf, a Baghdad-based reporter with Al Jazeera and the Christian Science Monitor also tweeted: “Attack in progress at #Iraq Abu Ghraib, Taji prisons. Gunmen with RPGs, mortars launch raid, spark riots. Army troops, helicopters sent.”

On Sunday, bombings and shootings killed 13 people across Iraq–a day after bombings across the country killed 70.

“What crime have those innocent people committed?” asked local Kadim Mohsen, who was looking at damage in Karrada, according to AP.

“Who will compensate owners of those shops?” he asked. “We see explosions every day. We blame the army and police.” 

This story is developing; check back for more details.