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While You Were Watching a Baby, 500 Inmates Escaped Iraq's Abu Ghraib Prison

By Matt Berman

National Journal

WASHINGTON -- In the United Kingdom and around the world, lots of people spent Monday waiting for a royal baby to show up. Eventually, the baby was born, and it was a boy, and it was all totally great. But here's something many people may have missed: In Iraq, hundreds of Qaida militants escaped from the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in a raid that began Sunday night.

The raid, possibly driven by al-Qaida, lasted until Monday morning and resulted in the deaths of 10 policemen and four militants. A senior member of the security and defense committee in Iraq's parliament told Reuters Monday afternoon, "The number of escaped inmates has reached 500, most of them were convicted senior members of al-Qaeda and had received death sentences."

The prison raid comes after a weekend that saw a wave of car-bomb attacks in Shiite areas of Baghdad that killed at least 46 people inside and outside of the city. Also this weekend, a local Sunni militia leader was killed just outside the capital. Since July 10, according to the Associated Press, more than 250 people have been killed in increased sectarian violence. By Iraq Body Count's estimate, around 600 people have been killed in militant attacks in July alone. Sunday night's prison raid increases fears that sectarian violence in Iraq is returning to near-civil-war levels.

So, again, royal baby, totally cool stuff. But, oh my, is the the world still a scary place.

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This article provides an overview of Iraq’s historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.

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