Iraq closes notorious Abu Ghraib jail over security fears
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Iraqi authorities have closed down the notorious Abu Ghraib prison facility west of Baghdad over security concerns, Justice Minister Hassan al-Shimmari said in an online statement on Tuesday.
Shimmari said the closure was a precautionary measure taken because Abu Ghraib is located in “a restive area” and that 2,400 inmates had been transferred to other prisons in safer areas of the country.
The prison is at the edge of Sunni-dominated Anbar province, which has been engulfed in clashes between an al Qaeda splinter group and government forces.
The country is suffering a surge in violence that has claimed more than 2,550 lives so far this year.
The prison is located between Baghdad and the city of Fallujah, which has been held by anti-government Islamist fighters since early January.
Al Qaeda fighters attacked Abu Ghraib and Taji prisons in coordinated attacks in July, claiming to have set free some 500 militants.
At least 25 members of the security forces, along with 21 prisoners and 10 militants, were killed in the attacks, according to Iraqi officials.
Abu Ghraib was at the centre of a 2004 scandal over the abuse of detainees when it was being administered by US troops.
Fresh abuse claims surfaced in 2013 after the facility became known as Baghdad Central Prison.
(FRANCE 24 with AP and AFP)