BAGHDAD – Iraqi authorities have closed the notorious Abu Ghraib prison near the capital Baghdad for security reasons and evacuated all its prisoners, the Justice Ministry announced Tuesday.
The complex’s 2,400 inmates had been moved to other prisons in northern and central Iraq, the announcement said, without specifying when the operation had taken place.
Abu Ghraib, Baghdad’s central prison, lies about 20 miles west of the capital in the Sunni-dominated al-Anbar province, where local and pan-Arab media reported clashes on Monday and Tuesday.
Security forces loyal to the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have been battling Sunni jihadists of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant in the province since January.
In July ISIL attacked Abu Ghraib and another prison north of Baghdad, and it alleged to have liberated 500 inmates.
Abu Ghraib prison became notorious after pictures of U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi detainees in the complex were made public in 2004.