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article imageAttack on Iraqi prisons frees senior Al-Qaeda leaders

By Sami Zaatari     Jul 22, 2013 in World
Hundreds of prison inmates, including senior Al-Qaeda members, escaped prison after two major coordinated attacks were carried out on two separate Iraqi prisons.
At least 56 people have been confirmed killed so far in the two deadly assaults that were launched.
The two prisons that were attacked were the Taji prison north of Baghdad, and the Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad.
Amongst the 56 killed were 26 security members and 20 inmates.
The coordinated attacks on the prisons included mortar fire, car bombings at the prison's entrances, as well as the use of suicide bombers.
Hakim al-Zamili, a member of the security and defence committee speaking to Reuters put the number of escaped inmates at 500, with many of them including Al-Qaeda members who were on death row.
The assault began on Sunday, and was brought under control by Monday morning according to Iraqi authorities who made the following statement:
The security forces in the Baghdad Operations Command, with the assistance of military aircraft, managed to foil an armed attack launched by unknown gunmen...The security forces forced the attackers to flee, and these forces are still pursuing the terrorist forces and exerting full control over the two regions.
Iraq has been plagued with deadly violence over the past few months, mainly down to a resurgent Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda in Iraq had been severely weakened during an American-Iraqi joint counterinsurgency back in 2006-2007, but have managed to regroup over the past few years with the instability and weakness of the Iraqi government.
The group has also managed to strengthen itself as a result of the civil war in neighbouring Syria, allowing the group to gain a foothold in Syria, the group formerly calling itself the Islamic state of Iraq, changed its name to the Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant, reflecting its growing presence and strength in the region.
More about AlQaeda in Iraq, Iraq, Prison Break
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