About forty inmates including Islamic State (IS), members have escaped from a prison facility in Khalis, northeast Baghdad today Saturday, May 9, 2015, during the prison break, a total of 6 guards and 30 prisoners died, making this revelation is the country’s interior minister.

According to the BBC, a security official them that some of the prisoners had planned the escape. The trouble began when prisoners started fighting, and when guards intervened they were attacked and stripped of their weapons, police said. Although Iraq has seen quite a number of prison breaks but which are usually caused by militants seeking to set their comrades free, the ministry of interior insists that there has been no external assault.

Nine of the escaped inmates were being held on terrorism charges, including IS members, while the other inmates were common criminals according to officials. Grisly pictures have been circulating on social media, with some commentators suggesting a massacre took place at the prison.

The Iraqi government is facing ongoing security challenges, and is battling IS militants who have captured large parts of the country. Over 500 inmates, including leading Islamists, escaped from the Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad in 2013 after gunmen stormed the facility.

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