Nineteen suspected terrorists broke out of a northern Iraq prison Friday amidst ongoing security concerns ahead of a Baghdad summit that will feature the participation of several Arab leaders, dpa reported.
Authorities had charged the group in connection with a series of terrorist acts and murders that resulted in the collective killing of 300 people, with two of the escapees sentenced to death.
According to the Iraqi Sumariya news agency, the prisoners forced their way through a window at the Central Kirkuk Transfer Prison in the early hours of Friday and fled into the northern province.
Kirkuk police forces launched a security sweep of the province, located 250 kilometres north of Baghdad, to re-capture the alleged terrorists.
The prison break comes after a series of deadly bombings raised questions about local authorities' ability to maintain security.
The Arab League stressed that the bombings would not stop the summit, which is set to involve the largest gathering of Arab leaders in Iraq in more than 20 years.
Leaders from Jordan, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, Yemen, Kuwait, Somalia, Djibouti, Mauritania, Tunisia, Comoros and Iraq have confirmed their participation at Thursday's summit, which is expected to address the situation in Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and reconciliation in Yemen.