ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Seven inmates were killed, and several others wounded after clashes erupted between two groups on Saturday at the Zirka Reform Facility in the Kurdistan Region’s Duhok governorate.
The clashes were sparked after an Arab prisoner attempted to stage an escape, opening the gates of other cells and even setting a fire in one of the units, according to Duhok Governor Farhad Atrushi.
Atrushi added that the incident took place when the Arab prisoner attacked a police officer.
“Saddam Jasim Hamdan, who has been charged with terrorism three times and has been handed the death sentence, and some other prisoners beat the police officer,” he stated.
Early reports suggested the clashes at the Zirka prison involved Kurdish and Arab prisoners, but Atrushi denied those claims during a press conference following the conflict.
A Kurdistan 24 correspondent at the scene of the facility said the situation was now under control by security forces in charge of the prison, adding seven prisoners had died, and several others were injured.
The wounded inmates were rushed to a hospital in Duhok.
According to the Duhok Governor, 12 prisoners and two police officers were wounded due to the fire which was started in one of the prison cells.
The prison houses dozens of Islamic State extremists who were arrested by the Kurdistan Region’s security forces during the fight against the extremist group.
The Reform Facility houses 1,114 prisoners on different charges, 330 of them on terror charges who have been convicted with the death sentence or life imprisonment, Atrushi said.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany