An al-Qaida-linked group fighting alongside Syrian rebels claimed responsibility Monday for a suicide car bombing that reportedly killed dozens of President Bashar Assad’s loyalists last week.
Islamic militants have been the most organized fighters battling government troops in the 22-month-old conflict in which more than 60,000 people have been killed. Their growing prominence has fueled 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 the U.S. says has ties to al-Qaida and has declared a terrorist organization, said in a statement posted online that one of its suicide bombers detonated a car bomb last Monday at the headquarters of a pro-government militia in the central province of Hama. It said the bomber drove a truck packed with explosives to the militia’s complex in the town of Salamiya and blew himself up “to give the tyrannical regime a taste” of violence it has been inflicting on the Syrian people.
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