, PESHAWAR, July 30- Dozens of heavily armed Taliban fighters freed nearly 250 prisoners, including hardcore militants, during a sophisticated overnight attack on a Pakistani jail that killed 13 people, officials said Tuesday.
Armed with guns, mortars, rocket propelled grenades and bombs, the Taliban bombarded the prison in the town of Dera Ismail Khan before escaping with scores of inmates after a three-hour shootout.
The attack by well trained gunmen, disguised in police uniforms, will heighten concerns about the ability of the Taliban to operate with impunity in parts of the nuclear armed state.
They appeared easily to overpower police on duty at the prison hours before the country began electing a new head of state to replace President Asif Ali Zardari, who is ending a five year term.
Zardari’s party lost general elections in May and has boycotted Tuesday’s presidential vote, leading to the certain victory of Mamnoon Hussain, a close ally of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
At least 248 prisoners escaped, of whom six were later re-arrested, senior government official Mushtaq Jadoon told ARY television, describing about 30 of them as “hardcore militants”.
Malik Qasim, prisons adviser to the chief minister of northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, confirmed that 248 had escaped.
He said five female inmates were taken away with one female constable.