Interpol has issued a global security alert linked to suspected al-Qaeda involvement in multiple prison breakouts over the last few weeks.
Interpol cited prison escapes in Iraq, Libya and Pakistan, and the agency is investigating whether the events were connected.
In the most recent escape, 248 prisoners were sprung from a jail in north-west Pakistan. Taliban 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 officers.
The authorities said 30 of those who escaped were “hardened militants” jailed for involvement in suicide bombings and other serious attacks. Hundreds of inmates escaped from two jails in Iraq – Abu Ghraib to the west of Baghdad and Taji to the north earlier in July.
All of the prisons housed Al Qaeda terrorists. The Abu Ghraib and Taji breakouts involved bombs and mortars. Battles raged for several hours after the jails first came under attack, and at least 20 members of the security forces were killed.
Five days later, some 1,200 inmates broke out of a jail in the Libyan city of Benghazi.
In France, President Francois Hollande spoke of specific threats but gave no additional details
“I’ve decided to close the embassy of France in Yemen because, now, we’ve had elements that allowed us to think that these threats were extremely serious,” Hollande told reporters Saturday. He did not specify the source or nature of the information concerning potential attacks. (source)
Calling for increased vigilance, Interpol says it is prioritising information and intelligence related to the breakouts.
The Interpol alert comes after the US issued a global travel alert because of fears of an unspecified al-Qaeda attack. The State department said on Friday that the potential for an attack was particularly strong in the Middle East and North Africa.
The US global travel alert was based on information from intercepts of electronic communications between senior al-Qaeda figures, according to officials quoted by the New York Times.
In its report, the New York Times says high-level intercepts were collected and analyzed this week and that the CIA, state department and White House immediately recognized their significance.
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Chris Carrington is a writer, researcher and lecturer with a background in science, technology and environmental studies. Chris is an editor for The Daily Sheeple. Wake the flock up!