Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists are taking credit for two spectacular jailbreaks staged on Sunday in Iraq. The Los Angeles Times described the chaos and the sheer scope of the breakouts:
Al Qaeda’s Iraqi affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, issued a statement claiming responsibility for the dual breakout operations at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad and at the detention center north of the capital in Taji. The Al Arabiya news service carried extensive citations from the terrorist group’s statement, including the claim that 500 inmates had been freed, many high-value militants captured by U.S. forces years ago.
“The holy warriors, after months of preparation and planning, targeted two of the largest prisons of the Safavid government,” the Al Qaeda affiliate said in the statement posted on jihadist websites across the Middle East. Safavid refers to what Sunni Muslims regard as an overly Iran-influenced Shiite leadership in Baghdad.
Violence in Iraq has been steadily worsening. July was the deadliest month of 2013 in the country, with over 500 people killed. Over 50 people were killed just in the weekend jailbreak, including 26 guards and soldiers killed by suicide bombers who led the attacks.
It is likely, however, that the freed terrrorists will not be staying in Iraq. Analysts who spoke to The New York Times speculated that the jihadists would be traveling to Syria to join the increasingly Islamist-dominated opposition in seeking to overthrow the Bashar al-Assad regime. The dynamic is being read against a growing and increasingly violent sectarian divide in Iraq.
[Photo: Euronews / Youtube]