BEIRUT

Middle East

Iraq closes notorious prison over security issues

In this Feb. 21, 2009 file photo, guards stand at a cell block at the renovated Abu Ghraib prison, now renamed Baghdad Central Prison and run by Iraqis in Baghdad, Iraq. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim, File)

BAGHDAD: Iraq's justice minister says authorities have closed down a notorious prison west of Baghdad over security concerns.

Hassan al-Shimmari said Tuesday that 2,400 inmates have been transferred from Abu Ghraib to other prisons in safer areas of the country. He says it was a precautionary measure because the Abu Ghraib facility is located in "a restive area."

The prison is at the edge of the Sunni-dominated Anbar province, which has been engulfed in clashes between an Al-Qaeda-splinter group and government forces.

Last July, militants attacked Abu Ghraib and another prison, setting free hundreds of inmates, including many militants. Dozens of other inmates and security personnel were killed in the attack.

Under U.S. troops, Abu Ghraib was at the center of a 2004 scandal over detainee abuse.

 

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