Syrian uprising shifts toward suicide bombings. Al Qaeda's handiwork? (+video)
Today's suicide bombings in Syria's Idlib province come just three days after a suicide bombing in Damascus claimed by a salafi jihadist organization.
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Mr. Abdulhamid's post carried a YouTube link that quotes Walid Muallem, Syria's foreign minister, telling a news conference in Damascus in December that suicide bombings would not be an "embarrassment" for the government but would bestow "credibility" upon its claim that it is under threat from Islamist militants.Skip to next paragraph
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Some analysts have long maintained that the Syrian authorities have cooperated with jihadist networks on a short-term tactical basis, even though the nominally secular nature of Syria's Baathist regime and its Alawite identity makes it an unlikely bedfellow with Sunni jihadists. Such jihadists view the Alawite faith, an obscure offshoot of Shiite Islam, as apostate.
On the other hand, there is increased evidence that the year-long uprising in Syria is attracting the interest of jihadist militants looking for a new theater of conflict following the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq and the gradual cessation of NATO military operations in Afghanistan. In February, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri explicitly stated support for the Syrian uprising, saying it was incumbent upon all Muslims in the neighboring countries of Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan to come to the aid of their Syrian brothers.
Last week, Abdel-Ghani Jawhar, a top Lebanese jihadist militant and bombmaker, was reported to have been killed in Syria. The circumstances of his death were unclear, with competing reports saying he was killed in Qusayr, five miles north of the Lebanese border, when a bomb he was preparing exploded prematurely. Other reports claimed he died in the flashpoint city of Homs in a clash with security forces. Jawhar was wanted by the Lebanese authorities for several deadly bomb attacks against Lebanese troops in 2008.
On Friday, the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported that two Jordanian jihadists were killed recently in Syria in clashes with security forces. The newspaper added that the Jordanian security services had arrested Abdullah Qabbaa, a top explosives expert, along with eight other jihadists as they attempted to cross the border into Syria.
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