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Page last updated at 16:50 GMT, Friday, 25 September 2009 17:50 UK

Five caught after Iraq jail break

Iraqi police stand guard at a checkpoint in Tikrit
Checkpoints were set up in Tikrit following the prison escape

Five men who escaped from an Iraqi prison have been recaptured, as police detain 100 staff for questioning about the break-out.

The men were among 16 who fled over the walls of a prison in Tikrit, north of Baghdad. One was recaptured within a day, while the rest remain on the run.

The large number of escapees raised suspicions that prison staff had involved in some way, officials said.

Some of the escapees were al-Qaeda members sentenced to death.

They had removed windows in a bathroom, crawled through, and then used a ladder to climb over the wall.

"We suspect that they had accomplices inside because there was such a high number of fugitives," governor Mutashar Hussein Elewi told AFP news agency.

"Either that or there was some kind of negligence in the administration of the prison."

Prison director Col Mohammed Saleh al-Jubouri, who was also the head of the anti-terrorism department for Salahuddin province, was fired by authorities because of the escape.

Among the five re-captured on Friday was Waleed Ayash, an al-Qaeda leader accused of killing police and civilians in the town of Dhuluiya in Salahuddin province, AFP reported.

Following the escape on Wednesday, checkpoints were set up around Tikrit, which is a predominantly Sunni town in Salah al-Din province about 80 miles (130km) from Baghdad.

US forces were helping with the search.



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