BAGHDAD, Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- Three policemen and three inmates were killed in a prison break attempt in central city of Hilla, the capital of Babil province, a provincial police source said on Saturday.
The incident took place on Friday evening when prisoners managed to seize some weapons and clashed with the guards and then controlled part of the prison's compound, Haider Zanbour, a member of Babil's provincial council, told reporters.
The clashes resulted in the killing of three prisoners and three guards and the wounding of eight other prisoners, Zanbour said, adding that some 20 prisoners managed to escape from the prison, some of them were wearing police uniforms.
The prison holds some 1,200 prisoners, including some leaders of al-Qaida militant group and some insurgent groups, he said.
The heavy gunfire inside and around the prison lasted more than an hour after midnight, he added.
Iraqi security forces in the city rushed to the scene and deployed in the surrounding neighborhoods of Hilla city, some 100 km south of Baghdad, hunting for the escaped prisoners.
"The situation in the prison is now under control after reinforcement troops from Baghdad have been dispatched to the city, " said Zanbour, who heads the security committee of the provincial council.
Prison breaks frequently occurred in the war-torn country, including the prison break of Basra in southern Iraq earlier this year when 12 suspected al-Qaida members ran away from their prison.
Tikrit, the capital of Salahudin province, also witnessed a prison riot earlier in the year and a previous prison break in 2009 when 16 al-Qaida suspects escaped from their prison in the city.