At Least 11 Iraqi Soldiers Killed in IS Attack on Barracks While They Were Sleeping

At least 11 Iraqi soldiers were killed in their sleep Friday after Islamic State gunmen attacked their army barracks. In a separate attack, IS militants stormed one of Syria's largest prisons in an attempt to break out extremists.

Iraqi military and security officials told The Associated Press the attacks happened early Friday morning at an army barracks located in the mountainous region of Al-Azim district more than 75 miles north of the capital, Baghdad.

The Associated Press reported that two Iraqi officials said the IS gunmen stormed the barracks around 3 a.m. local time and fatally shot the soldiers as they slept before escaping the area. According to an Iraqi military statement, 10 soldiers and one lieutenant were killed in the attack.

The attack on the Iraqi soldiers was one of the deadliest incidents targeting the military in recent months.

Army reinforcements were deployed to the village where the attack happened. Additional security forces were sent to the surrounding regions. More details about the incident were not available straight away, officials told the AP.

"We affirm that the blood of the heroic martyrs will not be in vain and that the response by our heroic army units will be very harsh," a statement from the Iraqi military said.

The circumstances regarding the attack were not immediately clear. The AP said the two officials spoke with them on the condition they remain anonymous because they were not authorized to provide an official statement.

In Syria, more than 100 IS fighters attempted to break out thousands of IS members believed to be held at Gweiran Prison, Farhad Shami, a spokesperson for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) told the AP.

The IS militants used a car bomb near the prison located in Hasakah province which is believed to be holding roughly 3,000 IS members. The Independent reported video footage reportedly taken from outside the prison was posted online showing heavy firing from machine guns and smoke billowing from different locations.

Shami told The Independent the prisoners had rioted and tried to escape Thursday while the gunmen attacked the outside simultaneously. Another attempted escape was carried out Friday.

A total of 89 militants had escaped during Thursday's incident and 23 IS attackers were killed. All of the militants who escaped were captured. Seven U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters were killed and several others were reported injured, Shami said according to The Independent.

The Independent reported Shami said it was the largest attack on an IS prison in northeast Syria since 2019 when the group was officially defeated.

Syria Prison Attack
This photo provided by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces shows some Islamic State group fighters, who were arrested by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces after they attacked Gweiran Prison, in Hasakeh, northeast Syria, Friday, January 21, 2022. IS attacks have been on the rise in recent months in both Iraq and neighboring Syria, where the group once set up a self-styled Islamic caliphate before being defeated by an international coalition. Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces/AP Photo