13 die as Pakistani forces clear jail after Taliban attack
IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency
Islamabad, July 30, IRNA -- Pakistani officials said Tuesday that the security forces have cleared a jail in the country's northwest hours after attack by heavily armed Taliban militants which killed 13 people and injured scores of others.
Officials said armed militants late Monday night attacked central prison in the city of Dera Ismail Khan with bombs‚ rockets and hand grenade‚ over 20 explosions heard by the local people in the area.
According to Commissioner Dera Ismail Khan Mushtaq Jadoon‚ those killed include four policemen‚ four prisoners and five civilians. He said several militants were also killed in the encounter.
The Commissioner said 30 militants are among the nearly 250 prisoners‚ who escaped during the attack.
Taliban spokesman, Shahidullah, claimed that some 200 militants were freed during the attack.
The Commissioner said a massive combing operation is continuing in D. I. Khan and Tank districts‚ where curfew has been imposed.
Security forces destroyed a vehicle loaded with explosives. Police said six of the escaped prisoners have been re-arrested.
Army troopers were called to help the police fight the militants and to foil escape of the prisoners. Official sources say that hundreds of militants are in the jail. The army surrounded the prison.
According to the officials‚ the militants wearing police uniforms tried to force their way into the jail compound. Suicide blasts were also reported to have taken place. They used hand grenades to clear way to enter the prison.
A senior official in the area, Mushtaq Jadoon, said that the curfew has been imposed to avoid any damage to public. He appealed to the people to stay in their homes. Curfew was also imposed in the nearby Tank district, located the edge of Waziristan tribal area.
Inspector General of Pakistan's Prisons, Khalid Abbas, said that the Pakistan Army was called in after militant attack. He said that as many as 5,000 prisoners, including 250 belonging to banned outfits were held in the jail. The attackers also blew up electricity supply line to take advantage of the darkness.
Sources said that the militants arrived in more than 10 vehicles from the nearby Wazristan tribal region.
Information Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Shaukat Yusufzai, said the attackers were wearing the police uniforms when they attacked the prison.
The attack prompted clashes first with the jail and local police and later the troops also joined the operation. The Taliban attackers were using loudspeakers to call the names of their prisoners and to guide them to flee.
Officials were not giving details about the number of casualties, however, sources said that eight people including four policemen were killed in firing exchange.
Sources say the jail houses nearly 5,000 prisoners, including 250 militants belonging to the Pakistani Taliban and members of banned sectarian groups such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ).
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