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Daily Column
US Papers Sat: 13 Killed in Ramadi Jailbreak
Three Suspected Insurgents Flee
By DANIEL W. SMITH 12/27/2008 02:00 AM ET
There are just two original Iraq-related news stories in today’s print editions of the Times and the Post, both about the same incident. Neither mention other events in Iraq at the end of the articles or add much analysis, as is sometimes the case which such pieces. Yesterday had some good political coverage, but today was mostly a day off for the Baghdad bureaus.

From Baghdad
A curfew was imposed in the city of Ramadi on Friday, and security forces searched door-to-door for three escaped prisoners at large, after a bold and deadly jailbreak, early that morning.

Timothy Williams and Mohammed Hussein of the New York Times write the better of the two articles about the incident, with the Washington Post’s Ernesto Londoño giving an abbreviated version. Both are straightforward and give about the same facts, but the Times story is a little more fleshed out with details and quotes.

Williams and Hussein describe the initial chain of events as follows, which started as an inmate was led from an interrogation room to his cell at Al-Forsan police station.
As the policeman entered the cell with the prisoner, another inmate, Emad Ahmed Ferhan, the suspected militant leader, complained that he felt nauseated and needed to use the toilet. As Mr. Ferhan was leaving the cell, which held about 30 inmates, he attacked the police officer. The officer, Majid Latif, was overpowered, stripped of his AK-47 rifle, bound and fatally shot, General Youssef said.

...Of the 30 men in the cell, the police said 11 fled as part of what officials described as a previously planned escape plot.
Tha’eer Dulaimi, a policeman wounded in the ensuing shootout, said “We were sleeping when we heard shouting and realized the prisoners were escaping.” They inmates killed another guard, and armed with two weapons, headed for the station’s armory, but were held back by guards. A firefight ensued, and spilled out into the street.

The result was that 13 ended up dead, and three prisoners escaped, one of which the Iraqi police say is a local leader of al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia.

“When they came out of the police station, they were shooting at us,” said Mohammed Dulaimi, a police officer who was also wounded. “I shot back and I killed one of them, but some of them escaped.”

Four of the escaping prisoners were shot, and one arrested.

Wall Street Journal, no Iraq coverage.

Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, no Saturday Editions.


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