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24 July 2013

INTERPOL issues global alert following Abu Ghraib and Taji prison breakout

Hundreds of dangerous criminals escape during raid


LYON, France – A regional security alert has been issued by INTERPOL at the request of Iraq following a mass breakout from two Iraqi prisons involving hundreds of dangerous prisoners, many of them members of Al-Qaida.

During the night of 21 July, gunmen attacked the Taji and Abu Ghraib prisons near Baghdad using mortars to gain access and free the prisoners, killing at least 20 members of the Iraqi security forces in the process. INTERPOL said the jailbreaks constituted a major threat to global security.

Many of the escaped prisoners were senior-level Al-Qaida members, some of whom had been sentenced to death.

Following confirmation of the escape from INTERPOL’s National Central Bureau in Baghdad, the Command and Coordination Centre at the General Secretariat headquarters issued the alert to member countries in the region to warn them of the threat posed by the fugitives.

INTERPOL is working closely with NCB Baghdad to collect information on the escaped prisoners, including photographs and fingerprints, with the view to issuing a global Orange Notice, to assist law enforcement officers regionally and worldwide in their search and eventual identification of the fugitives.

An Orange Notice can be issued by INTERPOL’s General Secretariat or an NCB for any act or event that poses a serious and imminent threat to the safety of citizens around the world.

A resolution underlining the need for member countries to alert the General Secretariat to prison escapes of suspected terrorists and other dangerous criminals was adopted at the INTERPOL General Assembly in 2006.