Last updated: 15 June, 2012

Syria says it uncovered Al-Qaeda mosque bomb plot

Syrian authorities have uncovered an Al-Qaeda plot to bomb Damascus mosques around the main weekly prayers, state media reported on Friday.

A suspect detained on Thursday confessed that he had been planning a suicide bombing during Friday prayers at the Al-Rifai Mosque in the heart of the capital, the official SANA news agency reported.

“The authorities on Thursday arrested the terrorist Mohamed Hossam al-Saddaqa, a member of the Al-Nusra Front of Al-Qaeda, who was planning to blow himself up inside Al-Rifai Mosque in Damascus during Friday prayers,” SANA said.

Saddaqa told his captors the group’s members “have prepared young men … to carry out suicide bombings in several areas in Damascus during prayers on Friday, June 15,” SANA said.

“There are other suicide bombers planning attacks on a number of mosques in Damascus during Friday prayers,” it quoted him as saying.

The Nusra Front, unknown before the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime erupted in March last year, has claimed several attacks against security force targets in Damascus and other cities in recent months.

On Thursday, 14 people were wounded when a suicide bomber blew up a vehicle near an important Shiite Muslim shrine in the capital.

The regime has attributed the unrest in Syria to “armed terrorist groups” seeking to sow chaos in the country as part of a “conspiracy” supported by foreign powers.

At least 14,400 people have been killed since the start of the uprising, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.