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Gunmen attack 2 prisons near Iraq's capital

Gunmen carried out coordinated attacks on two prisons in an attempt to free some prisoners, sparking fierce clashes with the Iraqi security forces on Sunday evening, an Interior Ministry source said.

The attacks occurred almost simultaneously after 8:00 p.m. local time (1700 GMT), when dozens of gunmen using rocket- propelled grenades, mortars, roadside bombs and different kinds of assault rifles tried to storm the Taji prison in north of Baghdad and Abu Ghraib prison in west of the capital, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Iraqi reinforcement troops of police and Iraqi army backed by helicopters deployed in the areas surrounding the two prisons and clashed with the attackers to prevent them and any possible fugitive prisoners from fleeing the scenes, the source said.

There was no immediate reports about the casualties as the clashes are still underway, the source added.

Violence and sporadic high-profile bomb attacks are common in Iraqi cities despite the dramatic decrease of violence over the past few years.

[Source: Xinhua, Baghdad, 21Jul13]

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