July 31, 2013

Attacks at Prisons Raise Worries of al-Qaeda’s Strength in Iraq

Michael R. Gordon and Duraid Adnan  | The Globe and Mail | Last updated Wednesday, Jul. 24 2013, 8:39 PM EDT | WASHINGTON — The brazen assaults on two prisons in Iraq this week were significant not only for the hundreds of prisoners who were freed but also for what they indicate about the growing capabilities of al-Qaeda’s Iraq affiliate, U.S. officials and experts outside government said on Tuesday.

The attacks on the prisons at Abu Ghraib and Taji were carefully synchronized operations in which members of the al-Qaeda affiliate used mortars to pin down Iraqi forces, employed suicide bombers to punch holes in their defences and then sent an assault force to free the prison’s inmates, Western experts said.

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