US Suspects al-Qaeda Behind Syria Bombings

Group may be looking to exploit the chaos
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2012 6:59 AM CST
US Suspects al-Qaeda Behind Syria Bombings
In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian security forces walk on the wreckage of a damaged military intelligence building in the northern city of Aleppo, Syria, Friday.   (AP Photo/SANA)

(Newser) – Al-Qaeda's Iraq branch is moving into the chaos in Syria, and is responsible for two recent bombings and most likely yesterday's bombing in Aleppo, US officials tell McClatchy. Intelligence reports seem to back up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad assertions—disputed by the opposition—that al-Qaeda has been involved in the 11-month uprising.

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"This was Zawahiri basically taking the shackles off," says one official. The thinking is that al-Qaeda is looking to take advantage of the unrest to expand beyond Iraq. They "are seeing space, seeing a vacuum, and opportunity to bounce back and they are taking advantage of it," said the official. (Read more Syria stories.)

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