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Top Iraqi jihadist killed in suicide bombing in northwest Syria
Published on: Friday, April 05, 2024
By: Reuters, FMT
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Top Iraqi jihadist killed in suicide bombing in northwest Syria
Hayat Tahrir al-Sham has long been targeted by Syrian government and Russian forces. (AFP file pic)
AMMAN: A leading Iraqi jihadist leader in Syria’s rebel-held northwest who founded a former al-Qaeda affiliate was killed on Thursday when a suicide bomber blew himself up in his guest house, jihadist sources said.

The three sources said Abu Maria al Qahtani, whose real name is Maysr al Jabouri, died after arriving in hospital with severe wounds inflicted when a suicide bomber detonated himself seconds after greeting him in the town of Sarmada.

Several others were injured, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Qahtani was one of the founders of the Nusra Front, a former al Qaeda offshoot in Syria that renamed itself Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) after it ruptured ties with al-Qaeda.

HTS confirmed Qahtani’s death in social media posts and blamed Isis, an ideological rival militant group. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Qahtani was an insurgent who fought against US forces in Iraq following the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. He moved to Syria after 2011 to join insurgents fighting against Syrian president Bashar al Assad’s authoritarian rule.

Qahtani, who fell out with the HTS leadership, was released from prison last month after spending six months in jail on charges of communicating with banned groups.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, listed as a terrorist organisation by the US, has long been targeted by Syrian government and Russian forces.

It competes with Turkey-backed mainstream rebels groups which also control swathes of territory along the border with Turkey in northwest Syria.

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