Iraq’s government has closed the notorious Abu Ghraib prison, citing security concerns in the increasingly restive area of the country.
Justice Minister Hassan al-Shimmari announced that its 2,400 inmates had been relocated to other jails in the country’s central and northern provinces. On Tuesday the justice ministry described the prison as in a “hot area,” the BBC reports. Militants attacked the jail in July 2013, freeing dozens of inmates and killing at least 50 prisoners and security guards in the process. The jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Abu Ghraib is situated in a region west of the capital, Baghdad. Under Saddam Hussein’s rule thousands of people are thought to have been tortured and perished behind its walls, and in 2004 the prison was at the centre of a scandal involving abuses committed by U.S. soldiers against Iraqi inmates. Since then it was renamed Baghdad Central Prison.
The justice ministry did not say if the closure would be temporary, or permanent.