Skip to main content

Is rash of brazen prison breaks related? Interpol wants to know

From Holly Yan, CNN
updated 10:21 PM EDT, Sun August 4, 2013
An Indonesian policeman outside the US embassy in Jakarta on August 4, 2013. Interpol issued a global security alert after jailbreaks linked to Al-Qaeda freed hundreds of militants.
An Indonesian policeman outside the US embassy in Jakarta on August 4, 2013. Interpol issued a global security alert after jailbreaks linked to Al-Qaeda freed hundreds of militants.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Interpol wants member countries to help determine whether prison breaks are linked
  • The U.S. closes 22 embassies and consulates around the world on Sunday
  • August has been a hot month historically for terrorist attacks

(CNN) -- Interpol has issued a global security alert, asking its member nations to help determine whether a rash of brazen prison escapes recently are linked.

Over the past month, prison breaks have taken place in nine Interpol member nations, the global police organization said in an alert this weekend.

"With suspected Al Qaeda involvement in several of the breakouts, which led to the escape of hundreds of terrorists and other criminals, the INTERPOL alert requests the Organization's 190 member countries' assistance in order to determine whether any of these recent events are coordinated or linked," the group said in the statement Saturday.

Opinion: What's behind timing of terror threat

Several high-profile escapes have garnered headlines in recent weeks:

A recently intercepted message among senior al Qaeda operatives alarmed the U.S. State Department and led to the closing of 22 embassies and consulates Sunday, August 4, across the Middle East and North Africa. On Sunday afternoon, the State Department said it had extended the closures in 15 of the locations until Saturday, August 10, and added four other posts to the list. Click through to see which facilities are affected, beginning with the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan, which is closed for the week. A recently intercepted message among senior al Qaeda operatives alarmed the U.S. State Department and led to the closing of 22 embassies and consulates Sunday, August 4, across the Middle East and North Africa. On Sunday afternoon, the State Department said it had extended the closures in 15 of the locations until Saturday, August 10, and added four other posts to the list. Click through to see which facilities are affected, beginning with the U.S. Embassy in Amman, Jordan, which is closed for the week.
Intercepted message spurs embassy closings
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Embassy closings Embassy closings
Embassy threat alert

-- On July 23, an al Qaeda group claimed responsibility for attacks on two Iraqi prisons that a lawmaker said freed more than 500 inmates, including some senior members of the group. Militants used suicide bombers with mortars, rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns to attack prisons as inmates inside rioted and set fires.

Where in the world could they strike?

Militant group claims responsibility for Iraq prison attacks

U.S. issues worldwide travel alert

-- On July 26, about 1,200 inmates spilled out of a prison in Benghazi, Libya.

-- And on July 30, Taliban gunmen wearing police uniforms attacked the largest jail in a northern Pakistani province, allowing about 200 inmates to escape, authorities said.

About 200 inmates escape in Pakistan Taliban attack on prison

Interpol's alert comes as the United States closes 22 embassies and consulates abroad amid fears that al Qaeda may launch attacks in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond.

"Current information suggests that (al Qaeda) and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks both in the region and beyond, and that they may focus efforts to conduct attacks in the period between now and the end of August," a U.S. State Department travel alert read.

Interpol noted that August has been a fervent month for attacks.

"August is the anniversary of violent terrorist incidents in Mumbai, India, and Gluboky, Russia, as well as in Jakarta, Indonesia," the Interpol alert states. This month also marks the 15th anniversary of the U.S. Embassy bombings in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in which more than 200 mostly African citizens were killed and 4,000 others injured, Interpol said.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 5:45 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
updated 9:43 PM EST, Wed December 17, 2014
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
updated 4:48 AM EST, Thu December 18, 2014
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
updated 3:27 PM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
updated 9:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
updated 7:12 PM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
updated 6:44 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
updated 5:26 AM EST, Mon December 15, 2014
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
updated 5:54 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
updated 9:31 AM EST, Fri December 19, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT