Al-Qaeda have claimed responsibility for prison raids which freed 500 inmates overnight on Sunday in Iraq. A statement posted online by the Islamic state of Iraq and Levant, formed earlier this year, said it was behind the attacks.
Two jail complexes were battered by mortar fire and suicide bombs over several hours. Twenty officials were reportedly killed in the struggle to keep control of Taji prison to the north of Baghdad and Abu Ghraib to the west.
According to a senior Iraqi MP, the majority of the freed inmates are senior Al-Qaeda members who had been condemned to death. He believes that they will try to make their way to Syria before returning to Iraq where he fears they will carry out new attacks.