Iraqi authorities believe an armed attack on two prisons on Sunday night, which freed hundreds of al-Qaeda combatants, was an “insider job,” The Telegraph  reported on Tuesday.
Gunmen who attacked Abu Ghraib and Taji prisons were “conspiring” with guards working inside the prisons, Iraq’s Ministry of Interior said, according to the newspaper.
“There has been a conspiracy between some of the guards of both prisons and the terrorist gangs that attacked the prisons,” The Telegraph quoted the Iraqi interior ministry’s statement as saying.
On Tuesday, al-Qaeda claimed responsibility  for executing raids on the two prisons and freeing over 500 prisoners, including senior al-Qaeda militants.
“The mujahideen (holy warriors), after months of preparation and planning, targeted two of the largest prisons of the Safavid government,” read the al-Qaeda statement posted on jihadist forums.
Among those who escaped are high-ranking al-Qaeda officials who may attempt a revenge attack, a high-ranking security official told AFP on the condition of anonymity.
“Dark days are waiting for Iraq. Some of those who escaped are senior leaders of al-Qaeda and the operation was executed for this group of leaders,” the official said.
“Those who escaped will work on committing acts of revenge, most of which might be suicide attacks,” he added.