Iraqi police officials say at least 44 detainees died as Sunni militants attacked a police station northeast of Baghdad and fought with pro-government Shiite militiamen defending the lockup, AP reported.
There is conflicting information on how the detainees died.
Three police officers say the station, which has a small jail, came under attack by Islamic militants in Diyala province on Monday night. The attackers tried to free the detainees, all suspected Sunni militants.
The three say the Shiite militiamen killed the detainees at close range. A morgue official in the provincial capital of Baqouba says many had bullet wounds to the head and chest.
All four spoke on condition of anonymity fearing for their safety.
Iraq's military says 52 detainees were killed when the attackers shelled the station with mortar rounds.