At Least 18 Killed at Iraq Interior Ministry Prison Break

Accused al-Qaeda Leader Among Slain in Six Hours' Fighting

At least 18 people, including a top Iraqi counter terrorism official and an accused al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) leader were killed Sunday in six hours of fighting at the Iraqi Interior Ministry, part of an attempted prison break by the detainees.

All told 11 of the slain were detainees, and the clashes started during the questioning of Abu Huzaifa al-Batawy, accused of being behind an attack on a Christian church in Baghdad last year. The detainees disarmed the guards at the start of the clash.

Once this happened, the detainees took over a section of the prison and held off guards for hours. The clash only came to an end after Iraqi SWAT team forces arrived and sieged the prison.

Security officials said the situation was under control, and described Batawi as the “Emir of Baghdad” under the AQI umbrella organization. They also said as many as eight other suspects were facing the death penalty.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.