PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Dozens of Pakistani Taliban insurgents stormed a prison in northwest Pakistan early Tuesday and freed 248 prisoners, including 30 high-profile militants, in an attack that renewed questions about the country’s ability to prevent terrorists from escaping its prisons.
Authorities said as many as 150 militants armed with rocket launchers and automatic rifles attacked the prison in Dera Ismail Khan, a city situated on the edge of Pakistan’s volatile tribal region along the Afghan border. Many of the attackers were clad in police uniforms.
The militants, some in vehicles and others on motorcycle, fired rockets to breach the main gate, local police said. Khalid Abbas, a top prison official, said a pitched firefight between police at the prison and the militants lasted for at least three hours. Several of the prisoners who escaped were foreign militants, Abbas said.
Four security guards, four civilians and six prisoners were killed in the attack, and at least 16 other people were injured, officials said. One of the injured prisoners said electricity to the prison was shut off just before the attack. The prison houses more than 3,000 inmates.