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Friday, June 02, 2006

Syrian forces foil 'terror' attack

ISN SECURITY WATCH (Friday, 2 June 2006: 14.06 CET) – Syrian forces have thwarted an attempted militant attack in the capital Damascus on Friday morning, killing four assailants and wounding two.

Syria's official SANA news agency reports that a "terrorist group" was trapped by Syrian special forces in a neighborhood close to Omayyad Square, near the western entrance to the capital.

According to an Interior Ministry source, quoted by the agency, "the security forces handled the situation with the terrorist group, and clashes led to the killing of four terrorists and wounding of two others, while other four were arrested".

The source said that, "one member of the security forces [was] martyred and two others wounded while [an] investigation is still carrying on with arrested members of the terrorist group".

The director of Syria's state-run television and radio services, Fayez al-Sayegh, told Al Jazeera that a "group of extremists" tried to storm deserted buildings next to the media services complex at around 6am, but were repelled by security forces.

The four arrested men are all Syrians.

According to Al Jazeera, it is not immediately clear whether the attackers belonged to the hard-line Islamic Jund al-Sham group, which has engaged in violent clashes with Syrian security forces.

A top Jund al-Sham militant was killed by a Syrian anti-terrorist unit in March. The group has also been linked to an arms cache and bomb-making factory discovered in December.

Five members of the group were killed and four captured in a clash with Syrian forces northwest of the capital last September.

Jund al-Sham has also been linked to attacks in Lebanon and Qatar and is thought to have Syrian, Palestinian and Jordanian members.

The Associated Press reports that the group brands Christians and Shi'ite Muslims as "infidels" and is believed to have links to al-Qaida leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
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