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Attempted Baghdad Prison Break Kills 17

Attempted Baghdad Prison Break Kills 17

Iraqi officials say the accused mastermind of an attack on a Baghdad church last year triggered a prison uprising Sunday where he and at least 16 others were killed.

Authorities say Huthaifa al-Battawi wrestled a gun from a security guard, killed him and then freed fellow inmates in Iraq's Interior Ministry jail complex before guards gunned him down as he tried to flee.

At least 10 other prisoners and six security officers died in the melee, including the head of counter-terrorism for eastern Baghdad, Muaeid Mohammed Saleh.

Officials say the prisoners seized several weapons before entering Saleh's office and killing him. Guards regained control of the prison after killing inmates who were trying to escape.

Al-Battawi was an al-Qaida militant accused of plotting the October 31 attack on Baghdad's Our Lady of Salvation church. At least 46 worshippers and seven security guards died in that incident.

The militants killed one of the priests at point-blank range and then held more than 100 worshippers hostage until Iraqi forces stormed the church and ended the siege.