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Iraq catches 2 more prisoners from group jailbreak

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[September 26, 2009]  BAGHDAD (AP) -- Iraqi security teams recaptured Saturday two more prisoners from a stunning jailbreak that included al-Qaida-linked prisoners sentenced to death, a police official said.

At least eight of the 16 fugitive prisoners have been hunted down following this week's jailbreak, which deeply embarrassed Iraqi authorities as they struggle to upgrade detention facilities before absorbing thousands more inmates from U.S. forces by next year.

A police official said the two men were found near Tikrit, about 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of Baghdad and not far from the makeshift prison where the prisoners climbed through a bathroom window late Wednesday.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media. An official at the Interior Ministry - also speaking on condition of anonymity - confirmed the arrests.

The escape touched off a massive manhunt that included Iraqi military forces and U.S. aircraft. The government also opened a sweeping investigation that is expected to examine whether the prisoners had any inside help.

More than 100 prison officials and guards have been detained for questioning. Authorities also fired Col. Mohammed Saleh al-Jubouri, the head of the anti-terrorism department for Salahuddin province, where Tikrit is located.

[Associated Press; By HAMID AHMED]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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