Islamist prison breaks may be connected to Syrian conflict

Interpol cited prison escapes in Iraq, Libya and Pakistan, and asked its members to examine if they were connected. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-23560889  In the most recent escape, 248 prisoners were sprung from a jail in north-west Pakistan. Militants used automatic weapons and bombs to break down the walls of the jail in Dera Ismail Khan on 30 July. At least 13 people were killed, including six police.
The authorities said 30 of those who fled were “hardened militants” jailed for involvement in suicide bombings and other serious attacks.

Security forces in Indonesia have regained control of a prison on Sumatra Island, which was hit by riots, officials say. Five people died during the violence, with a search under way for about 100 inmates who had escaped.

More than 1,000 prisoners escaped from a prison in Libya after a wave of political assassinations and attacks.

Hundreds of inmates have escaped from two Iraqi prisons after gunmen stormed two jails near Baghdad.

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, American officials and experts outside the government.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23403564
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23271276
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-23493323
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/28/world/africa/libyans-turn-on-islamists-and-liberals-after-killings.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/24/world/middleeast/al-qaeda-asserts-responsibility-for-iraqi-prison-breaks.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/13/world/asia/inmates-flee-indonesian-prison.html

This comes after the US state department issued a global travel alert because of fears of an unspecified al-Qaeda attack.
The department said on Friday that the potential for an attack was particularly strong in the Middle East and North Africa.
The US is shutting nearly two dozen embassies and consulates in the Muslim world on Sunday.

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