Iraqs al-Qaeda says it masterminded jailbreak

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“The unique operation began by infiltrating the security system of the jail... and entering silenced weapons, grenades and explosive belts for the jailed brothers inside the prison, and coordinating with them to take control from inside,” the statement read.

Iraq’s Interior Ministry has accused prison officials of complicity in the jailbreak, during which the fleeing inmates destroyed prison records.

Eighty members of the security forces were either killed or wounded in the attack, said the group. It also claimed responsibility for 62 other attacks in Iraq over the past three months, most of them targeting security forces and Sunni government-backed militias.

Iraq is home to a number of Sunni Islamist insurgent groups which continue to launch attacks designed to undermine the Shi'ite-led government.

Security at prisons was beefed up following the jail break and some inmates were transferred to fortified jails.

Last September, 35 prisoners facing terrorism charges escaped via a sewage pipe from a temporary jail in the northern city of Mosul, an al-Qaeda stronghold.

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