Posted by Alex on Thursday, November 6th, 2008
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.”
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.