Iraq Prison Break Could Be Boon for Al Qaeda

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2013-07_968e0694f8.jpgiStockphoto/Thinkstock(BAGHDAD) -- There are new fears that the radical Islamist movements in Iraq and Syria have been strengthened considerably following the prison break at the Abu Ghraib detention center outside Baghdad in which hundreds of dangerous militants escaped.

Abu Ghraib and a prison in Taji were both attacked late Sunday by suicide bombers and heavily armed gunmen with more than 26 Iraqi security forces and a dozen militants killed in the two assaults.

While guards managed to repel the attack at Taji, the assault on Abu Ghraib was far more successful with an estimated 500 to 600 prisoners escaping, many described as al Qaeda operatives.

As it happened, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, al Qaeda's main wing in the country, took credit for the dual raids which Iraq’s Interior Ministry said were aided by sympathetic guards at Abu Ghraib.

While some of the escapees have already been recaptured, many are expected to get away to rejoin the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in its effort to stir up sectarian warfare that has been on the rise since April when provincial elections were held.

A number of escaped militants are expected to flee to Syria where they'll take up arms with al Qaeda groups fighting for the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad's regime.

These militias have a far different agenda from other rebels who seek to establish a democratic government in Syria.

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