Skip to comments.Syrian Islamic Militant Leader Killed ....blew himself up Tuesday ..trying to cross into Lebanon..
Posted on 11/28/2006 4:44:19 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
JDEIDET YABOUS, Syria (AP) -
The Syrian leader of an Islamic militant group blew himself up Tuesday after trying to cross into Lebanon and engaging in a gunbattle with Syrian border forces. Two border guards were wounded.
The incident raises questions about the security of the Lebanese-Syrian frontier, which Israel contends is a gateway for weapons to rearm Hezbollah militants.
It comes at a time of increased tension in Lebanon as the struggle intensifies between the anti-Syria government and factions led by Hezbollah, Syria's ally in Lebanon.
The Syrian Interior Ministry said in a statement the clash began when Omar Abdullah, 28, the leader of the Islamic militant group Tawhid and Jihad, was challenged when he tried to cross into Lebanon with fake documents.
Tawhid and Jihad, Arabic for Monotheism and Holy War, was the name originally used by al-Qaida in Iraq and in 2004, the State Department designated it a terrorist group under its original name. Groups linked to or sympathetic to al-Qaida have used the name Tawhid and Jihad, but such a group had not been known to be operating in Syria.
A witness said Abdullah was standing outside the passport control building when security agents approached. He opened fire with a handgun, wounding two guards, then ran toward the nearby village of Kfeir Yabous about 500 yards away.
More security forces arrived, started shooting and apparently hit the gunman, said the witness, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear of reprisals. He said the attacker raised one hand in a gesture of surrender, but used the other to detonate an explosives belt.
Blood could be seen splattered on the rocky terrain nearby.
The Interior Ministry said nine fake identification documents were found on Abdullah, who also used the name Omar Hamra.
Syria has refused to allow international forces to monitor the mountainous region along its shared border with Lebanon. Israel says improving border security is key to preventing Hezbollah, which is backed by Syria and Iran, from rebuilding its arsenal, depleted during last summer's war.
Tuesday's clash took place about seven minutes' drive from the Lebanese border point of Masnaa, on the highway linking Beirut with Syria's capital, Damascus.
It was not clear whether Abdullah intended to carry out a suicide bombing in Lebanon or whether he aimed to attack the border post.
A senior official with the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon emphasized the area was not part of its mandate.
"The Lebanese-Syrian border is out of our area of operations," said Milos Strugar, senior adviser to the U.N. force commander. "Therefore, we don't know what happened at the Lebanese-Syrian border today."
About 10,000 U.N. troops are positioned along Lebanon's border with Israel since the force was beefed up after the Aug. 14 cease-fire that ended fighting between Hezbollah and Israel.
Syria is a transit route for Arab militants intending to go to Iraq to fight in the insurgency. The United States has accused Syria of failing to stop fighters from crossing into Iraq, but Damascus has insisted it is doing all it can to seal the long desert frontier with Iraq.
Syrian President Bashar Assad has warned of an increasing terrorist threat against his country, saying al-Qaida militants are taking refuge in neighboring Lebanon. Assad's Lebanese opponents say his regime is sending militants into Lebanon and Iraq.
The most prominent militant group in Syria is Jund al-Sham, Arabic for the Army of Syria. But it is sometimes called the Jund al-Sham for Tawhid and Jihad.
Rita Katz, director of the Washington-based SITE Institute, said Tawhid and Jihad is a very small group "known for its association with Zarqawi." Al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was killed in a U.S. airstrike this year.
She said it might be the same organization as Jund al-Sham and was probably made up of Syrians who had started fighting with al-Zarqawi and then went back to Syria to bring his fight there.
"The jihadists are trying for a long time to establish a jihadi front in Syria," she said.
Islamic militants have battled with Syrian security forces several times in recent years.
Most of those attacks were linked to Jund al-Sham, an al-Qaida offshoot group that was established in Afghanistan by Syrians, Palestinians and Jordanians with links to al-Zarqawi. In the latest militant assault, four attackers and a Syrian guard were killed Sept. 12 when they tried to bomb the heavily guarded U.S. Embassy in Damascus.
Sunni Muslim extremist groups, including al-Qaida, fiercely oppose the Assad government because of its secular ideology. Assad's father, the late President Hafez Assad, crushed a Muslim fundamentalist uprising in the city of Hama in 1982. Thousands died in the violence.
Gee, I love a happy ending!
It would take 50,000 troops to guard the entire border, and that would not be to contain a military attack but just to keep unauthorized traffic from crossing.
This sentence pretty much sums up the entire mentality of these creeps....
Omar Abdullah aka Omar Hamra,, hence forth ,, to be known in lore as.. POOOF!
Hopefully he took out some of his compatriots with him.
I love it when one of these fleshy-headed mutants decides to "Martyrize" his housecoat.
POOF the magic jihady?
This is the kind of help we could use!! Thanks Asshatt! Too bad about Damascus. You were warned.
You gotta love those short fuses.
Another one bites the sand!
YAY!!!! One less terrorist!!! :)
You'all saying that these here jihadis is poofters?
I'm sorry the guards were hurt because they will probably be replaced with jihadists who would just let the guy pass through.
"No virgins for you!"
Outstanding! I salute that Muslim militant leader! Well done!
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