US aids manhunt for escaped al Qaeda members in Iraq

He declined to comment on the details of that ongoing counterterrorism cooperation between Washington and Iraq over the prison break. 

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The escape of al Qaeda detainees from Iraq's infamous Abu Ghraib on Monday "poses a [serious] concern" to U.S. interests in the country and the overall region, according to Little. 

The terror detainees were part of the nearly 500 escapees during the jail break carried out by Sunni militants, according to recent reports. 

Cars carrying explosives were driven to the front gates of the prison on Sunday night and gunmen shot at guards with rocket propelled grenades and mortar explosives.

While Iraqi security forces were able to recapture a number of the escapees, hundreds still remain at large inside Iraq. 

One prison official told Reuters the break out was an "obvious" attack by terrorists carried out by members of al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). 

On Tuesday, Little admitted DOD concerns over the possibility that escaped al Qaeda operatives may return to the battlefield and join up with the terror group's factions fighting in Syria. 

"It is a potential problem," if al Qaeda fighters from Abu Ghraib ended up fighting alongside AQI operatives in Syria, according to Little. 

That said, a small influx of AQI gunmen into Syria is "not necessarily going to tip the balance" of power in Syria's ongoing civil war, he added.