Interpol issued a global security alert on Saturday, citing prison breaks across nine nations in the past month, reported the New York Times.
The international police organization said that Islamist terror group Al Qaeda is suspected of playing a role in some of the jailbreaks, and asked for help to determine whether the operations “are coordinated or linked.”
Interpol asked that its 190 member nations “closely follow and swiftly process any information linked to these events and the escaped prisoners.” It also cited the anniversaries of high profile terrorist attacks by Islamists, and noted that a similar security alert was issued by the State Department on Friday.
It said that it would be “prioritizing all information and intelligence in relation to the breakouts or terrorist plots.”
Al Qaeda’s Iraq affiliate carried out carefully synchronized operations at two prisons, in Abu Ghraib and Taji, in late July. The group used mortar fire to pin down Iraqi forces, sent suicide bombers to penetrate their defenses and then sent an assault force to free the inmates, Western experts said.
A few days later, more than 1,000 prisoners escaped from a prison near Benghazi, Libya.
Shortly after that, as many as 150 fighters armed with guns and grenade launchers “blew holes in the perimeter wall of a century-old prison at Dera Ismail Khan, just outside Pakistan’s tribal belt,” said the Times, citing Pakistani police.