It is unclear if jailbreaks in Libya and Iraq resulting in the escape of Islamic militants were linked. In Libya some 1,000 detainees were freed from a Benghazi prison on 27 July, compounding an already chaotic domestic security situation.

In Iraq, the identity and purpose of the attackers were clearer. A 23 July statement from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) – formed by the merger of the Iraqi and Syrian branches of al-Qa’ida – claimed responsibility for the simultaneous 21 July assault on prisons at Abu Ghraib in Baghdad and Taji north of the capital. These freed over 500 inmates and killed 120 security personnel. The raid had immediate international implications: many escapees reportedly headed straight for Syria. (CONTINUED - 350 WORDS)