Pakistani Taliban Prison Attack Frees Hundreds of Inmates

Photo Credit: Saood Rehman/EPAHundreds of prisoners have been freed by Islamists in Pakistan after a spectacular assault by extremists on a jail in the western city of Dera Ismail Khan.

The attack, at around 11.30pm on Monday, involved one large bomb – so loud it rattled windows miles away – to blow a hole in the jail’s walls, followed by a mortar bombardment.

Around 70 gunmen, many dressed in police uniforms, then rushed through the gaps, throwing grenades and firing rocket-propelled grenades, killing six policemen and opening cells to free around 250 prisoners. Authorities said these included 24 wanted terrorists.

The attack, which came on the eve of voting for a new president in the troubled south Asian state, underlines once again the weakness of the Pakistani state and the inability of the country’s law and order agencies to maintain security.

One strike last week targeted an office of the main spy agency, the ISI, while another killed more than 50 Shia Muslims. Six Shia Muslim prisoners – the vast majority of Pakistanis are Sunni – were killed in Monday night’s assault.

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