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Brotherhood Denies Syria Attacks Claim

Published: 25/12/2011 01:34:50 PM GMT
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DAMASCUS - Syria's Muslim Brotherhood has denied responsibility for deadly attacks in the capital Damascus, accusing the regime of Bashar Al-Assad of masterminding the bombings.The claim was completely fabricated under ou (more)

DAMASCUS - Syria's Muslim Brotherhood has denied responsibility for deadly attacks in the capital Damascus, accusing the regime of Bashar Al-Assad of masterminding the bombings.

The claim was "completely fabricated under our name on the Internet," spokesman Zuhair Salem told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Saturday, December 24.

At least 44 people were killed Friday in twin suicide bombings targeting two security buildings in Damascus.

Shortly after the attacks, a website purporting to be that of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria said that the group was behind the attacks.

The website also warned Syrians of further attacks against government offices and security forces in the coming 10 days.

But the Muslim Brotherhood denied the claim, accusing Assad's regime of orchestrating the attacks.

It was "completely orchestrated by the regime, just as the attacks were," Salem said.

The Damascus attacks, which no group has yet claimed responsibility, signaled a dramatic escalation in the protests against Assad's 11-year rule.

Syrian security forces have launched a bloody crackdown on protestors, inspired by popular Arab uprisings which have toppled three Arab leaders.

The United Nations says 5,000 people have been killed in Assad's crackdown on protests.

Syrian authorities blame armed groups for the violence, saying they have killed 2,000 soldiers and police.

Bloody Welcome

The Muslim Brotherhood said that the attacks were orchestrated by the regime to coincide with the first day of work of Arab monitors.

"The regime gave a bloody welcome to the team of Arab observers, in the morning of Holy Friday, to cover up the weekly demonstrations across the Syrian map," the group said in an official statement released after the attacks.

Following threats of sanctions, Syria signed last week an Arab deal to allow monitors to assess the situation in the country.

The Muslim Brotherhood also cast doubt on claims by the Syrian regime that Al-Qaeda was behind the attacks.

"The attack was blamed on Al-Qaeda at the same time as the explosions were announced, before any investigation was made," it read.

"They (the Syrian authorities) are saying to the West: beware, for we have a common enemy," it added.

The statement also took to task Syria's announcement that it had been warned by its allies in Lebanon that Al-Qaeda had infiltrated Syria two days before the attacks.

"This means the crime was planned beforehand," it said.

Syria's Muslim Brotherhood has been outlawed since the secular Baath party seized power in 1963.

The group led a revolt in Syria in1982, prompting the government to launch a bloody crackdown on the town of Hama, leaving tens of thousands of people dead.The majority of Syria's 22.5 million population are Sunni Muslims. The country is also home to Christians and a minority Alawite Muslim community, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, which controls the ruling Baath party for close to 50 years.

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