The jihadist Al-Nusra Front on Sunday claimed responsibility for a suicide attack earlier this month on an army factory in the central province of Hama that reportedly killed at least 60 people.
“Thank God, your brothers in Al-Nusra Front… carried out a martyrdom (suicide) operation that targeted an army factory in the town of Tal Baraq in Hama province,” on February 6, the jihadist group said in a statement posted on the Internet.
According to its account, one of its fighters “drove a bus loaded with 2.5 tonnes of explosives” towards a group of “shabiha” or pro-regime militiamen as they gathered outside the factory to receive their pay and blew himself up.
Al-Nusra said the attack was “in revenge for the Muslim children of the Sunni community who suffered from the crimes of the Alawites and their collaborators.”
The majority of Syria’s rebels — like the population — are Sunni Muslim, while President Bashar al-Assad belongs to the minority Alawite community.
Al-Nusra, listed as a terrorist organisation by the United States, has claimed responsibility for the majority of suicide attacks in Syria’s spiralling conflict, which the UN says has left some 70,000 people dead in two years.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 60 people were killed in the factory attack. All the victims were civilian workers at the factory which produced army uniforms, it said.