An Al-Qaeda-inspired group has denied claiming responsibility for a recent rocket attack from southern Lebanon against Israel, instead blaming a group linked to Hezbollah, a US monitoring group said Monday.
In a statement issued on jihadist forums, the Brigades of Abdullah Azzam said the November 29 attack should be seen as a warning to the West and Israel from embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the SITE Intelligence Group said.
"The Brigades declared that the attack... is to be construed as a message from Assad to Israel and the West, that if his regime is made to fall, then the field will open to the youth of the Sunni people to attack the Jewish state," the statement said.
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The group gave examples of what it said was Syria's and the Shiite Hezbollah's "cunning," claiming, for example, that Syrian intelligence was behind the March kidnapping of seven Estonian cyclists in the Bekaa region.
The seven were freed unharmed in July.
The Brigades in their statement said it was clear that Damascus and its Shiite ally Hezbollah were keen for political reasons to blame the group for any security incidents in Lebanon, including a July attack on UN troops.
Abdullah Azzam, the late Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden's mentor, was killed in a 1989 bomb blast.