Baghdad: An alleged Al Qaeda inmate in a Baghdad prison detonated explosives in an attempted suicide bombing on Wednesday, wounding four people and badly injuring himself, officials and a prisoner said.
An interior ministry official said an inmate belonging to Al Qaeda blew himself up in the prison in central Baghdad, wounding three guards and another prisoner.
"The prisoner was able to gather the explosives over a number of days" and apparently formed them into an explosive belt, the official said, without providing details on the source of the explosives.
A police officer confirmed that the bomber survived the blast and was taken to Al-Kindi hospital.
An inmate told AFP by telephone from inside the jail that the bomber tried to approach guards but was unable to do so and blew himself up anyway.
Justice ministry spokesman Haidar al-Saadi said in an emailed statement that the bomber, named as Ahmed Majid Hamid al-Shammari, had been sentenced to death under Iraq's anti-terrorism law, and that he used fuel from cigarette lighters in the attack.
The bombing came a day after families were allowed to visit prisoners, Saadi said, without specifying if Shammari's family had visited him, or if it is suspected that materials used in the attack had been smuggled in that way.
Prisons in Iraq are periodically hit by escape attempts, uprisings and other unrest.