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243 inmates freed in Taliban jailbreak

Assault leaves 11 dead as 35 senior militants escape
243 inmates freed in Taliban jailbreak

Security forces examine damage to the outer wall of a prison where Taliban fighters freed 243 inmates

Published: July 30, 2013 10:42 AM GMT
Updated: July 29, 2013 11:57 PM GMT

Taliban militants freed 243 prisoners on Monday following a prison assault in the northwest of Pakistan that left at least 11 people dead including five guards and a suicide bomber.

District Police Chief Sohail Khan said that more than 100 insurgents in police uniforms were responsible for the attack.

“Gunmen detonated bombs to breach the outer walls,” he said.

Pervez Khattak, chief minister of Khyber Pakhtumkhwa where the prison-break took place, said that 35 senior militants were among those who escaped.

They are believed to have been whisked away to tribal Waziristan, a traditional Afghan stronghold close to the border.

“It is a failure of the intelligence agencies. Many heads will roll after conducting a probe into the attack,” he said.

Regional officials received information about the attack two weeks ago from anonymous people but nothing was done, said Khattak.

“Why was no action taken to secure the prison if jail authorities had already received threatening letters,” he said, adding that the government would launch an investigation into what happened.

Imran Khan, a member of the Justice Party which rules this volatile province, said that his administration was setting up its own intelligence network to tackle terrorism.

The attack, the latest jailbreak by the Taliban, came just hours before Pakistani lawmakers went to the polls to elect a new president.

In April last year Taliban militants armed with automatic weapons attacked a prison in the city of Bannu where they freed close to 400 prisoners.

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