In a Baghdad, Iraq high security prison on Sunday, an attempted prison break turned into a violent, three hour-long gun battle, killing at least 18, according to the New York Times. The insurgent commander, who was reported killed, was al-Qaeda leader Huthaifa al-Batawi, known as the "Emir of Baghdad." Iraqi authorities have described him as the organizer of an Oct. 31 attack on a Baghdad church that killed nearly 60 people.
The detention facility in central Baghdad holds 220 detainees, including 38 who are suspected al-Qaeda militants. Those killed in Sunday's prison mutiny were all suspected members of al-Qaeda, a counter-terror official said.
The prison break is viewed as the latest aggressive action of the al-Qaeda following the death of Osama bin Laden. There are other indications of trouble and unrest within the organization: One week after bin Laden's death, al-Qaeda has still not publicly anointed a leader, signaling possible dissent.
The most likely heir, according to the Washington Post, is Ayman al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon and bin Laden’s longtime deputy. Yet U.S. counterterrorism officials said said his ascendance was by no means guaranteed, because "he is not popular within certain circles of the group." And Zawahiri has rivals, among them two veteran Libyan jihadis, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman and Abu Yahya al-Libi.