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Iraq's Abu Ghraib jail evacuated after riot, fire






Prison guards secure the main gate of the newly named Baghdad Central Prison in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib February 21, 2009. REUTERS/Mohammed Ameen
Prison guards secure the main gate of the newly named Baghdad Central Prison in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib February 21, 2009. REUTERS/Mohammed Ameen
</head> <body> <p>BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Prisoners started a fire during a riot at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, U.S. and Iraqi officials said, resulting in some injuries before wardens began evacuating the jail that became notorious for U.S. detainee abuse.</p> <p>Namir Mohammed, a local council member in western Baghdad's Abu Ghraib district, said the inmates set fire to mattresses on Thursday following a search of the facility for mobile phones and banned drugs or medication.</p> <p>Prison officials said inmates were unhappy about conditions at the jail, which became known across the world as a site of U.S. soldiers' abuse and sexual humiliation of Iraqi detainees after the ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003.</p> <p>"Today on orders from the government we started evacuating the prison to other jails inside Baghdad," a prison warden who declined to be named told Reuters by telephone.</p> <p>"A government committee is handling evacuation. We don't know where they went."</p> <p>He added others would be removed Saturday but he did not know if some would be left behind.</p> <p>Pictures of abuse at Abu Ghraib sparked indignation worldwide and helped fuel a bloody insurgency in Iraq that has only begun to fade in the past 18 months.</p> <p>The prison has since been taken over by Iraqi officials and was reopened in February with a new name. Iraqi officials plan to hold only a fraction of the tens of thousands of prisoners it housed under Saddam and promise improved conditions.</p> <p>Ahmed al-Khafaji, deputy interior minister, said late on Thursday the fire had been brought under control. It had caused injuries among some prison staff but not the inmates, he said.</p> <p>Friday morning, a U.S. military spokesman said inmates at Abu Ghraib had started a fire in their cell to try to overpower their guards. Three guards and three inmates were reportedly injured, he said. U.S. aircraft backed Iraqi forces in responding to the incident.</p> <p>(Reporting by Fadhel al-Badrani in Falluja and Suadad al-Salhy in Baghdad; writing by Missy Ryan; editing by Philippa Fletcher)</p> </body> </html> </div><!-- end article-body --> </div><!-- end aticle-body-wrapper --> <aside> <ul class="social-share-btns clearfix"> <li><g:plusone size="medium" href="http://wtaq.com/news/articles/2009/sep/11/prisoners-riot-at-iraqs-abu-ghraib/"></g:plusone></li> <li><div id="fb-root"></div><script src="http://connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#appId=112315878855956&xfbml=1"></script><fb:like href="http://wtaq.com/news/articles/2009/sep/11/prisoners-riot-at-iraqs-abu-ghraib/" action="recommend" send="true" layout="button_count" width="150" show_faces="false" font=""></fb:like></li> <li><a href="http://twitter.com/share" class="twitter-share-button" data-url="http://wtaq.com/news/articles/2009/sep/11/prisoners-riot-at-iraqs-abu-ghraib/" data-text="Iraq's Abu Ghraib jail evacuated 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