A suicide bomber has attacked the Iman Mosque in the Syrian capital city of Damascus today, killing 42 people, including senior pro-government Sunni cleric Mohammad al-Buti, the Imam of the Ummayyad Mosque, one of the most significant mosques in all of Islam. 84 other people were also reported wounded.
Imam Buti was an outspoken supporter of the Assad government, referring to the rebels as “scum” during weekly television sermons and urging Syrians to join the military to fight them off.
So far no group has claimed credit for the attack and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) explicitly disavowed it, saying that their group does not conduct suicide bombings against mosques.
Several rebel factions, particularly the al-Nusra Front, do conduct suicide attacks however, and have been known to target mosques seen as insufficiently supportive of the rebellion. Other rebels claimed the government had assassinated Buti after last week’s pro-Assad sermon, saying they “wanted to make a martyr of him.”
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