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Terrorism & Security

Two bombings rock Damascus in one of largest attacks since uprising (+video)

No group has claimed responsibility for today's bombings in Damascus that killed at least 40 people, but an Al Qaeda-inspired group has claimed similar attacks in the past.

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A Syrian activist in Damascus echoed those beliefs in an interview with The Los Angeles Times. “This is the work of the regime,” the man, named Moaz, said. “No one else has the capability for an explosion like this, not the Free Syrian Army [the rebels' armed forces], not anyone. If the Free Syrian Army had this ability it would have freed Syria a long time ago.”

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Middle East Editor

Ariel Zirulnick is the Monitor's Middle East editor, overseeing regional coverage both for and the weekly magazine. She is also a contributor to the international desk's terrorism and security blog. 

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“The message is don’t mess with the regime and all the (UN) monitors don’t matter to me and I will convince the entire world with my point of view that there are terrorists in the country,” Moaz said.

The headline on the statement about the attack on the Syrian Arab News Agency website was "The Reality of Events: Tens of Martyrs and Wounded Civilians in Two Terrorist Explosions in Damascus" (Warning: Graphic photos). Syria's Day Press News reports that Syrian TV said "terrorists" were behind the attacks.

A secretive group called the Al-Nusra Front, likely a group of Salafi jihadists, has claimed responsibility for some of the previous bombings of government targets. The Christian Science Monitor reported last month that there is growing evidence that Syria's uprising has attracted jihadist militants "looking for a new theater of conflict" now that the US has withdrawn from Iraq and NATO operations in Afghanistan are winding down. Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri voiced his support for the Syrian uprising in February, saying Muslims in neighboring countries were compelled to come to the opposition's aid.

The New York Times reports that militant websites have been filled with discussions about whether the Syrian uprising "constituted a legitimate jihad."


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