Some six gunmen wielding grenades and rifles approached the siteat around 8:30pm local time, according to local news sources. The‘men on the outside’ were concealed in a nearby field, andstealthily approached the prison in a pickup truck and a van,opening fire shortly afterwards.Simultaneously, inmates climbed to the prison roof and began firingrounds, using guns that had been acquired under mysteriouscircumstances. Many of the men were of Albanian descent and wereresidents of the prison’s C-wing.The guards responded with their own barrage of bullets. At leastfive grenades were detonated during the course of the mayhem, whichlasted throughout the night, only ending after police specialforces succeeded in gaining entry to the prison at dawn onSaturday.“It was like a war was going on. There was so much gunfire,”Trikala city councilor Costas Tassios told AP.Two guards were physically injured in the shootout and admitted forurgent surgery. One of the injured, aged around 40, suffered asevere abdominal injury and heavy blood loss, and was latertransferred to an intensive care unit, according to local newsagency Trikalanews.gr.Both are thought to have avoided serious, lasting harm. Acorrectional officer also required first aid.After the carnage ended, several prisoners bolted. The morningcount revealed that 11 had made a successful bid for freedom. It isthought that they escaped down a rope, descending from a guardtower that had been under siege. The men are now at large, saysnews agency Madata.gr.Police roadblocks were set up shortly after their disappearance wasnoted. A manhunt has been launched and attempts are in action totrace one of the cars used.Unprecedented security measures have been taken at prisonsnationwide in an attempt to divert any potential widespread escapeof prisoners. Security has been jumped up at Diabaton Thessalonikiand St. Stephen prisons in Patras and Corfu, and Korydallos prisonin Athens, according to Madata.Prisoners in Trikala have been being frisked and their cellssearched, in the hope that any further concealed weapons will beunearthed. An investigation is underway into how prisoners managedto lay their hands on arms.It is the latest in a series of breakout attempts from Greekprisons. Within the last week, Albanian inmate Alket Rizaj, tookhostages as part of an escape attempt from a different centralGreece prison. He was unsuccessful, following a 24 hour standoffwith police.Last month, four inmates tried to escape by helicopter from thesame Trikala prison that was the scene of Friday and Saturday’sunrest. However, they were unsuccessful. Among them was PanagiotisVlastos, who is serving life for murder and racketeering.
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