Al-Qaeda link to Syria suicide bombing

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An AL-QAEDA-linked group fighting alongside Syrian rebels has claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing that reportedly killed dozens of president Bashar al-Assad’s loyalists last week.

Islamic militants have been the most organised fighters battling government troops in the conflict in which more than 60,000 people have been killed in 22 months. Their growing prominence has fuelled fears that Muslim radicals might try to hijack the revolt, and has contributed to the West’s hesitance to equip the opposition with sophisticated weapons.

Jabhat al-Nusra, which Washington says is a terrorist organisation with ties to al-Qaeda, said in a statement posted online yesterday that one of its suicide bombers detonated a lorry bomb last Monday at the headquarters of a pro-government militia in the central province of Hama.

It said the bomber drove the vehicle packed with explosives to the militia’s complex in Salamiya and blew himself up “to give the tyrannical regime a taste” of violence it has been inflicting on the Syrian people.