'Arab state behind al-Qaeda jailbreaks'

'Arab state behind al-Qaeda jailbreaks'
Tue Aug 27, 2013 07:50:23

A new report says the intelligence agency of an Arab state is behind the recent escapes of al-Qaeda agents from prisons in Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia to make them join foreign-backed militants in Syria.

The report published by the Austrian daily DerStandard said that the prisonbreaks were staged with the help of a Persian Gulf country, without saying its name, to support the al-Qaeda-affiliated extremist group in Syria, al-Nusra Front.

It said that the prisoners were helped to escape under the condition that they will be sent to Syria to fight against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Pointing to the survival of al-Qaeda two years after the death of its founder, Osama Bin Laden, despite massive drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, sprawling surveillance programs, and global intelligence operations, the report said the real secret of al-Qaeda’s survival is that its offshoots in different countries closely cooperate with some of the regional countries.

Informed observers believe that Saudi Arabia has been mobilizing al-Qaeda operatives from regional countries to fight in Syria. They say Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar Bin Sultan is in charge of the operation.

Top Taliban commanders said that they have managed to smuggle over two dozen militants they broke out of a prison in the restive northwestern Pakistan on July 29.

On July 27, Libyan security officials said that over 1,000 inmates have escaped from a prison near the eastern city of Benghazi in a stunning jailbreak.

Militants armed with mortars and machine guns also targeted two Iraqi prisons in Taji and Abu Ghraib on July 22, breaking hundreds out of jail.

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said on June 25 that Riyadh believes the al-Qaeda-linked groups in Syria should be armed, but weapons shipments to the Syrian government should be stopped.

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. The United Nations says more than 100,000 people have been killed and a total of 7.8 million others displaced since the outbreak of the violence.

BA/BA

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