Syrian TV shows men ‘confessing’ to deadly bomb blast

Posted by Alex.

DAMASCUS (AFP) — Syrian state television on Thursday broadcast statements by men it said were Fatah al-Islam militants, in which they admitted carrying out a bomb attack in September that killed 17 people.

The men included Abdul Baqi al-Hussein, described as the head of security in Syria of Fatah al-Islam, who said the aim of the attack was to “harm the regime in Syria.”

confession on Syrian Television

confession on Syrian Television

The television programme also showed a photo of a man said to have been the suicide bomber in the September 27 attack in Damascus, naming him as Abu Aysha al-Saudi — ‘The Saudi’.

Last year, the army in Syria’s neighbour Lebanon fought a 15-week battle with the Al-Qaeda-inspired Fatah al-Islam in the Palestinian refugee camp of Nahr al-Bared near Tripoli that left 400 people dead, including 168 soldiers.

However, Fatah al-Islam chief Shaker al-Abssi managed to flee the camp and vowed revenge attacks against the Lebanese army. Before the deadly camp siege in Lebanon Abssi served a prison term in Syria for having links to Al-Qaeda.

On September 27, a car bomb exploded near a Shiite shrine in southern Damascus killing 17 people and wounding 14 others, in one of the deadliest attacks in Syria in a dozen years.

The car, packed with 200 kilos (440 pounds) of explosives, blew up near a security checkpoint on a road to Damascus international airport at an intersection leading to the Sayeda Zeinab neighbourhood.

All the victims were civilian passers-by.

Among those on the Thursday night broadcast was a woman Syrian television said was Wafa al-Abssi, daughter of the Fatah al-Islam chief.

The men who spoke in the programme said they had carried out a series of armed robberies to finance the September attack. They also said the car used in the bombing had been stolen from an Iraqi.

Sayeda Zeinab is popular among Shiites from Iran, Lebanon and Iraq who go there on pilgrimage to pray at the tomb of Zeinab, a grand-daughter of the Prophet Mohammed.

The blast was the worst to rock Syria since February when Hezbollah commander Imad Mughnieh was killed by a car bomb in Damascus.

Since May, Lebanon’s northern port city of Tripoli near the Syrian border has also been rocked by deadly sectarian violence between Sunni supporters of the government and their Damascus-backed rivals from the Alawite community.

More details in Arabic here.

Comments (75)


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51. norman said:

The appointment of Emanuel as chief of staff is more to pass his domestic policy than foreign policy which is our interest , he is to push the Democrat and the Republican to pass his plans ,

I would be very concern if Dennis Ross or Martin Indyk become involved in forign policy especially the Mideast .

I will take all the Jews that the US can produce if they are like Shai or Rumyal.

My most worry is if the Neocon find a way to become Democrat now and interfere in forign policy , That what we should worry about.

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November 8th, 2008, 12:22 am

 

52. Friend in America said:

My opinion is you guys are too hopeful about Emanuel. He has been one of AIPAC’s point persons in Congress. Better to assume his father knows his son better than we do until we learn otherwise. It is time to write letters to the editors of the major U.S. newspapers expressing concern of a mid-east citizen who had thought “time for change” extended to the Arab countries in the mid east. Those letters will be read. A journalist will write you a story. Obama may keep his selection but you can force him and Rahm to disclose their position on the mid east conflict. Good luck.

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November 8th, 2008, 2:03 am

 

53. Akbar Palace said:

wow … he better distance himself form his father

Alex,

I can’t disagree with you in your disgust of Emmanuel’s father.

Shai said:

I guess statements like that make AP happy…

Shai,

I guess you don’t know me very well.

Shai states:

I wish Israelis gave 1/2 the amount of respect to Muslims that you give to Jews.

Once again, Shai shows his ignorance as if he knows ALL Israelis.

All I know is that Shai probably can’t find a tenth of anti-Arab articles in the hebrew press as he can find anti-semitic articles in the government-owned Arab press.

“Respect”?

http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD210308

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November 8th, 2008, 4:06 am

 

54. jad said:

AP, (All I know is that Shai probably can’t find a tenth of anti-Arab articles in the hebrew press as he can find anti-semitic articles in the government-owned Arab press.)
You are nothing but a liar, where is the anti-Semitic sentence you find in the Syrian Alwatan newspaper article that you are writing about (http://www.memri.org/bin/latestnews.cgi?ID=SD210308)
You either point it out on here immediately or shut your foul hole up and apologize to everybody SEMITIC on the forum, which includes the Arabs as well.

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November 8th, 2008, 4:46 am

 

55. jad said:

This is the part AP is reffering to,

Syrian Daily: “We Hereby Declare Obama the 44th President [Before It’s Official]… Even If It Might Be Considered Irresponsible Journalism”

In its headline, the Syrian daily Al-Watan named Obama president even before the official results were announced. The editorial that accompanied the headline explained: “We wanted to declare Obama president… as a show of solidarity with millions of Americans, Arabs, and colleagues in the world media who [all] yearn for ‘change’ in U.S. foreign policy. They are all betting on Obama – who has been waving the slogan [of change]… in hope that he will be different not only in the color of his skin, but also in his view regarding Washington’s policy towards the world…

“Some claim that if Obama wins he will be no better than Bush, if not worse… They may be right, since it is well known that no American president has ever stood on the side of the Arabs – rather, they have all stood on the side of Israel…

“Yesterday was undoubtedly a long, exhausting, and historic day by any standard. The American people [voted] with a vigor not seen in any [previous] U.S. presidential election, in a bid to make history and change the ugly face of the U.S.

“Out of respect for them and for everyone who voted for change, and out for respect for the souls of the Syrian, Iraqi, and Arab martyrs, we hereby declare Obama the 44th president of the U.S., even if it might be considered irresponsible journalism. We are sure that our readers will forgive us if we turn out to be wrong – [a possibility] for which we do not hope.”

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November 8th, 2008, 4:50 am

 

56. AIG said:

Jad,

For your enjoyment:
http://www.spme.net/cgi-bin/articles.cgi?ID=2586

If you need more examples, let me know.
The Arab media is quite prejudiced against Jews (that is what antisemitic means). “Antisemitic” is just like the word “dogma”. You cannot break it up into “dog” and “ma” to figure out its meaning.

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November 8th, 2008, 5:58 am

 

57. jad said:

AIG,
Are we as Arab responsible in anyway of the anti-Semitic movement in Europe that lead to the Holocaust? What is the word “Semitic” means? How about me calling you an anti-Semitic instead of anti-Arab for a change?

Regarding the link you send me; you should ask your government and yourself, who is responsible to get that image in the media like that? We can exchange millions of pic on here showing how low we both think of each others but what is the point of that?

My comment to AP was specifically about his ridiculous comment and the ‘prove’ link he send, forgetting that he is on a Syrian forum full of Semitic people who doesn’t necessary have any hate feeling toward Judaism as a faith. He shouldn’t mix things and he should be more aware of what he writes.

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November 8th, 2008, 7:05 am

 

58. Akbar Palace said:

JAD,

cc: Shai, AIG

When Shai makes the comment: I wish Israelis gave 1/2 the amount of respect to Muslims that you give to Jews., he is implying Israelis are intolerant.

In reality, Israelis are far more tolerant than Arabs, not judging from my own personal experience, but by judging from their media, their political leadership, and their organizations on the ground.

Apparently, these types of sweeping statements from Shai (which I find here on a regular basis) are false when compared to the facts.

Now if we’re talking about “respect”, there is much Israelis could improve upon. However, Israelis (like Shai – sorry Shai you just aren’t that special Habib) have done MUCH in this area that Shai always seems to forget about (see link below):

http://peace.mennolink.org/articles/israelpeacegroups.html

If there were 1/2 the amount of Arab peace groups as Israeli peace groups, I would be impressed.

It’s all about “change” habibi;)

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November 8th, 2008, 1:10 pm

 

59. Shai said:

Akbar Person,

I was giving Alex a compliment, based on his very detailed and quite pro-Jewish comment regarding Jewish cabinet members in previous U.S. administrations. I’m not used to hearing such comments, and I certainly have never seen them in our Israeli press. If you have, please be kind enough to point even one out to us. When I said I wished “1/2 of Israelis gave that much respect…”, I was being extremely generous to us Israelis. I wish just ONE Israeli would give such credit to Arab leaders, to Arab parliament members, to Arab diplomats, etc.

But you are right, I don’t know ALL Israelis. At the risk of being wrong, I’ll dare say I know a few more than you, AP…

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November 8th, 2008, 1:12 pm

 

60. Shai said:

Akbar Palace said: “In reality, Israelis are far more tolerant than Arabs”

Akbar, what planet do you live on? Is this what they taught you in Sunday school? Is this what FOX news taught you? Did O’Reilly whisper this nonsense in your ear? Tolerance, is not exactly Israelis’ “best” known characteristic.

But in some respects you are right. For instance, our Israeli society has tolerated our Occupation of Palestine for over 40 years. We are indeed very tolerant sometimes… The kind of tolerance a people should be proud of, wouldn’t you say?

Yalla, try to come up with some better ones…

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November 8th, 2008, 1:21 pm

 

61. AIG said:

Shai,
Let’s examine the facts.
1) The Arabs in Israel have more rights than Arabs in Arab countries. They are on average richer and much better educated.
2) There is an Arab on the Israeli supreme court.
3) There are Arabs in the Knesset and government and they speak their minds
4) Any racist remarks are immediately attacked by the Israeli press
5) The Jews were basically kicked out of all Arab countries. The number of Jews in Syria has gone down from about 50,000 in 48 to less than 50 now. Is that because of tolerance?
6) The Jews in Arab countries cannot speak their mind and have no rights
7) Antisemitic cartoons, articles and books are tolerated and noone complains against them. In fact in Syria antisemitic books were published by the highest ranking people.
8 ) No synagouge was allowed to be built in any Arab country in the last 50 years. Countless mosques have been built in Israel.

So you can paint any picture that you want but you will be wrong. Do we have room to improve in Israel? Certainly. Are we about 100 times more tolerant than Arab countries? Absolutely.

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November 8th, 2008, 3:56 pm

 

62. why-discuss said:

Akbar Palace
“Israelis are far more tolerant than Arabs”

From what we see of the Israelis, many seem guilt-stricken and they thrive to look tolerant but deep inside the majority of Israelis act as racist and hypocrites. Otherwise they would have to accept that historically they have acted as thieves and they are continuing in their crime. The rest of the Israelis appear confused by the conflicting situation they have to live in. The whole environment of Israel appears psychologically unhealthy and violent and is certainly not a role modele of ‘democracy’ arabs should emulate.
See Israeli films: “The Lemon Trees” and “Waltz with Bashir” , it says it all.

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November 8th, 2008, 4:55 pm

 

63. Shai said:

AIG,

I love your “Arab-Israelis have more rights” argument. And I keep giving you the example of the British envoy pointing racism to his Alabama counterpart in the early 1900’s, and the latter responding “But fact is that Blacks in Alabama make 10 times as much as they do in Liberia!…” An Arab-Israeli family might prefer living in a predominantly Jewish, but also racist, society, because it can at least send its kids to Haifa university (those 1/1000 who can make it). But like my friend Mahmoud from Taibeh tells me, “when you keep being treated like a dog, eventually you start thinking you’re a dog”. Tolerance there too? Yeah, on the Arab-Israelis’ part, but not forever. Even the most conservative Israelis wouldn’t claim to be “tolerant”. You’ve obviously been away from Israel for a while. Not that our society has been more tolerant in the past. It hasn’t. The comparison test doesn’t impress me. What we have to do, has nothing to do with what our neighbors have to do. This is something you obviously fail to understand.

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November 8th, 2008, 5:14 pm

 

64. jad said:

(Let’s examine the facts.)

(1) The Arabs in Israel have more rights than Arabs in Arab countries. They are on average richer and much better educated.)
The last time I checked (1min ago) the 3 millions Palestinians living under the Israeli (your) occupation are 70% unemployed, they are uneducated not to mention your soldier harassing the kids going to school on daily bases, hungry, extremely poor, and are treated like dogs, I wont call that having more rights, spare us from this repeated ‘fact’.

(2) There is an Arab on the Israeli supreme court.)
With 20% of Arab population INSIDE Israel, you’d better have one otherwise you are not a country.

(3) There are Arabs in the Knesset and government and they speak their minds)
The same comments as above not to mention Azmi Bshara living in an exile for speaking his mind

(4) Any racist remarks are immediately attacked by the Israeli press)
They are published but not attacked; did anybody attack the racist remark of Rahim’s father yet? Nobody will

(5) The Jews were basically kicked out of all Arab countries. The number of Jews in Syria has gone down from about 50,000 in 48 to less than 50 now. Is that because of tolerance?)
It wasn’t because of tolerance it was an American&Israeli order for them to leave; tolerance has nothing to do with Syrian loosing their Syrian Jewish community in the mid 90. Did you ask yourself why those 50 Syrian Jews didn’t leave the country if they are that bad treated as you imply?

(6) The Jews in Arab countries cannot speak their mind and have no rights)
I can talk about Syria; there was a Jewish MP representative in the parliament, the only rights they didn’t have is serving in the military and the 5years civil service in the government. As I said before, we did envy them for that.

(7) Antisemitic cartoons, articles and books are tolerated and noone complains against them. In fact in Syria antisemitic books were published by the highest ranking people.)
You always mixing Anti-Semitic and Anti-Zionist. Is every Jewish person in the word a Zionist? Is every German is a Nazi?

(8) No synagouge was allowed to be built in any Arab country in the last 50 years. Countless mosques have been built in Israel.)
In Damascus There is one beautiful, small, well maintained, and old Synagogue but with 50 Syrian Jews left in the country is there a need for Syria to build a new Synagogue?

(Are we about 100 times more tolerant than Arab countries? Absolutely.) No AIG you are not 100 times more tolerant than Arabs,

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November 8th, 2008, 5:24 pm

 

65. AIG said:

Shai,
The question was which society is more tolerant. I think the facts speak for themselves. Of course Israel has room to improve.

Jad,

Keep sticking your head in the sand. The Arab societies are the most intolerant in the world and by far less tolerant than the Israeli one.

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November 8th, 2008, 5:41 pm

 

66. jad said:

AIG,
I’m not sure what part of my reply indicate that “I’m sticking my head in the sand” I was trying to reply to every point you raise and explain to you the real fact adn I think that I was very tolerant. on the other hand, Your reply is totally intolerant, don’t you think? and I’m a Syrian and you are an Israeli.

To make it easy for you, Arabs and Israelis are the same “thing” with different flavor.

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November 8th, 2008, 5:52 pm

 

67. Shai said:

AIG,

No, the question you answered was what you wanted to answer, not what anyone asked. And, it is completely irrelevant. Who cares how much better earnings the blacks in Alabama had over their brethren in Liberia? And who cares how much more “tolerant” America was in the 1900’s over a nation like, say, Sudan. What matters, is that America was racist in the 1900’s, and Israeli society is quite racist today, in the early 21st century. By treating our Arab-Israeli citizens as 2nd-class citizens, and by continuing to subjugate and suffocate another 3 million Arabs, in their territory, not even ours, we are not exactly helping the Arab world “love” us more, are we? So do we first wait to see greater tolerance for Arabs within Arab countries? Why? What does one have anything to do with the other?

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November 8th, 2008, 6:04 pm

 

68. offended said:

So all the fun was taking place here today? alas, i missed it.

AIG, there are 200 different nationalities living in the united arab emirates, if the local arab population wasn’t at least fairly tolerant (and indeed, hospitable), they wouldn’t have stayed this long.

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November 8th, 2008, 6:07 pm

 

69. Shai said:

Offended,

Do you think when I come over for ahwe and argilleh, we’ll have enough time to see those 200 nationalities? 🙂 (maybe better not). Btw, any real estate left for sale on Palm Islands?

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November 8th, 2008, 6:11 pm

 

70. offended said:

It’s a sad fact that while Arab Gulf states are pumping huge sums of money through the global financial system, racism toward Arabs is taken very lightly all over the world.

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November 8th, 2008, 6:11 pm

 

71. offended said:

Shai, wallah with your friendliness and fairness I am prepared to go talk to the shiekh to suspend the ‘no entry for israeli citizens’ rule just for you to get in : ).

There are always properties on sale. But the market is almost saturated.

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November 8th, 2008, 6:19 pm

 

72. jad said:

Hi Offended,
Even the Canadians are getting a bit racist toward Arab Gulf states in their Comedy shows lately…..is that going to be the latest trend in the media you think?

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November 8th, 2008, 6:21 pm

 

73. offended said:

Hello Jad,
You might disagree with me, but I really don’t mind racism and stereotypes in comedy shows. IMHO it somehow ease tensions. I used to joke with a friend and tell him: “you can call me a sand nigger as long as you don’t treat me like a slave”

But a statement made by the father of the chief of staff of the white house is indicative, it’s PURE HATE. there’s no chance this guy could have said it out of ignorance. Imagine a different scenarior where God forbids a Syrian gets chosen for chief of a staff and his father back in syria makes such comment about jews, HELL WILL BREAK LOOSE my friend. This is what pisses me off the most. Hypocricy and double standards.

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November 8th, 2008, 6:30 pm

 

74. Shai said:

Offended,

There’s no doubt his father’s statement was completely racist. I would have given Rahm Emanuel the benefit of the doubt (as I hinted in earlier comments), but would expect at the very least some clear condemnation of his father’s comment, and immediately, not 5 weeks later, when Obama reminds Rahm that there are some 1 billion Muslims in this world that he cannot ignore, and another few billion who reject racism outright. I’m actually glad Ma’ariv published his comment (I think it was first to do so, in Hebrew), and that it caused waves of coverage thereafter. Let Obama see firsthand just how sensitive his choices and his actions will have to be during his term in office.

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November 8th, 2008, 6:54 pm

 

75. Jad said:

Dear Offended, I agree with you about being flexible when it comes to stereotype things, and you are right, it does ease the tension, I misunderstood your point, I thought you were talking about the general media not about the father’s comments.
what’s happening to the American media, they are somehow paralyzed of even condem such thing by anybody. That is sad.

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November 8th, 2008, 7:08 pm

 

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