Twelve militants linked to al-Qaeda have broken out of a prison in Basra in southern Iraq, the authorities say.
The men were awaiting trial when they obtained police uniforms and walked out of the detention centre - in one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces - before dawn, security officials said.
They are said to have ties with the Islamic State of Iraq - a Sunni insurgent group affiliated to al-Qaeda.
All the prison guards have been arrested and a manhunt is under way.
"Of course, there was collusion from within the compound, but we do not know who is involved at the moment," said Ali Ghanim al-Maliki, head of the security committee at Basra's provincial council. (Read more.)