Mortar shells slammed into an Interior Ministry jail yesterday, killing at least seven inmates and wounding 23, police and a hospital official said. One of Iraq's main refineries came under fire in a separate attack in the capital -- the latest strike against an oil industry vital to the country's economic recovery.
The mortar rounds hit a prison made up of several cell blocks, each containing prisoners that are accused of terrorism-related crimes or civil offenses, police said.
Police said US troops sealed off the area and were investigating the 6:30am bombardment. The US military said it had no immediate information and Iraqi Interior Ministry officials could not be reached for comment.
A hospital official said the inmates were sleeping when the mortars hit, one landing directly on a cell and two others nearby. Casualties were sent to a hospital inside the Interior Ministry compound for treatment, the official said.
In Baghdad's Dora neighborhood, a rocket or a mortar shell hit one of Iraq's three main oil refineries, police and an Oil Ministry spokesman said. The US military confirmed an attack in the area.
Assim Jihad, a spokesman for Iraq's Oil Ministry, said a rocket or mortar shell had landed on a storage tank. He said no casualties were reported and the plant was still operating.
"The fire is under control and within a few hours it will be extinguished. This will not affect production," Jihad said.
A police official said the fire was caused by a 120mm mortar round.
Iraq's oil industry has come under repeated attack since 2003, including on Friday when a bomb exploded beneath a key pipeline outside the northern city of Beiji.
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