Washington: Al Qaeda is rebuilding in Iraq and has set up training camps for insurgents in the nation’s western deserts, officials have claimed.
Iraqi and American officials said that the insurgent group has more than doubled in numbers from a year ago to about 2,500 fighters.
Pentagon data shows it is carrying out an average of 140 attacks a week, CBS News reports.
Iraq has seen a jump in Al-Qaeda attacks over the last 10 weeks, and officials believe most of the fighters are former prisoners who have either escaped from jail or were released by Iraqi authorities for lack of evidence after the US military withdrawal last December.
According to the report, in September, dozens of prisoners, including many Al-Qaeda suspects, seized weapons and set off hours-long clashes with security guards at a prison in Saddam Hussein`s hometown.
The attack left 12 dead, including 10 guards, before numerous inmates managed to escape from the facility, Iraqi officials said.
According to the report, it is, however, still unclear whether Al-Qaeda was directly responsible for initiating the break.