They were able to reach the armory and get weapons: Costly incompetence at best, collaboration at worst. “Qaeda “˜emirs” flee in deadly Iraq jailbreak,” from Agence France-Presse, December 26:
RAMADI, Iraq – A local Al-Qaeda chief known as “˜Imad the killer” escaped in a pre-dawn breakout from an Iraqi police station on Friday, triggering a wild shootout that left 13 militants and policemen dead.
Imad Ahmed Farhan, who police say has admitted to murdering at least 100 people, is on the run with two other “˜emirs” or local leaders of Al-Qaeda who broke out of their cells in a police station in the western city of Ramadi.
“˜During an exchange of fire between prisoners trying to escape and police officers in the station, six policemen and seven prisoners were killed,” provincial police chief Tareq al-Dulaimi said.
The three prisoners managed to flee but one was recaptured, Dulaimi said, adding that another four policemen were wounded in the shootout that occurred at 2 am (2300 GMT Thursday) at Forsan police station in the centre of Ramadi.
Ramadi police have imposed a curfew in the city following the incident, an interior ministry source said, adding that it appeared to be a well planned operation.
Several police either directly involved in the battle or in the search afterwards told AFP that the incident began when a prisoner started to shout that he was sick at around 2 am, prompting a policeman to go to his cell.
When the captain entered the cell holding 40 men, 13 of them Qaeda members, they grabbed him and cut his throat with a makeshift knife. They then took his gun and went to the police chief’s office and slit his throat.
The 13 Qaeda prisoners then scrambled into the courtyard where they shot a lieutenant and made it to the armory before the gunbattle began in earnest.
The prisoners fought police for two hours before officers managed to regain control of the station. The recaptured prisoner suffered minor injuries.
Farhan is locally know as “˜Imad Omaya” which in Arabic means “˜Imad the Killer.”
On Friday the streets of Ramadi, a city of 540,000 people, were deserted and shops were shut as a heavy police presence fanned out in an urgent hunt for the Al-Qaeda escapees, an AFP reporter said….