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Al Qaida-linked group claims responsibility for Damascus bombings on Shia pilgrims that killed 74 people

According to Al Qaida linked Nusra Front, the Shia Iraqi pilgrims were fighters supporting the Syrian government forces against the six-year-old rebellion

Indian Citizen Yahya Farooq
A group related to Al Qaeda (representational Image), VOA

Damascus, March 13, 2017: A day after Levant Swords rebel group said it was involved in the double bombing that killed 74 people, al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front claimed responsibility for the attack on Shia pilgrims, a media report said on Sunday.

Nusra front also claimed that the Shia Iraqis were not pilgrims to shrines in Damascus but fighters supporting the Syrian government forces against the six-year-old rebellion, Xinhua news agency reported.

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The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that at least 54 victims of Saturday’s attack were Syrian civilians and Iraqi pilgrims, in addition to 20 Syrian government troops.

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One bomb exploded near the entrance to the Bab al-Saghir cemetery on the parking lot side where nine buses were parked.

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Shortly thereafter, a suicide bomber detonated an explosive belt he was wearing on the grounds of the cemetery. (IANS)

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Al-Qaida Releases Call for Jihadist Unity, Purportedly From Leader

Al-Qaida's Ayman al-Zawahiri
Al-Qaida's Ayman al-Zawahiri is seen in this still image taken from a video released in September 2011.voa

Al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is urging followers for Jihadist Unity, around the world against what he calls the “international satanic alliance.”

In a 28-minute undated audio-video message that surfaced Wednesday, Al-Qaida leader al-Zawahiri said, “We are facing the fiercest attack in the history of Muslims. The Crusaders, atheist Russia, China, Rawafidh [rejectionists], secularists and the treacherous rulers have all joined hands against us.”

VOA could not independently verify the authenticity of the message.

Al-Zawahiri took charge of the al-Qaida terror organization after his predecessor, Osama bin Laden, was killed in a U.S. Navy SEAL raid in 2011 in Pakistan’s Abbottabad. His precise whereabouts are unknown, but security analysts think he most likely is hiding in the Afghan-Pakistan border region.

The message, released less than a month after the 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S., came as the terror organization is facing a series of defeats around the world, particularly in Syria, where its offshoot groups are being squeezed by the Russian-backed Syria government. (VOA)