Damascus Attackers Detained

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A jihadist chief and suspected mastermind of some of the deadliest attacks in Damascus since last December has been arrested in the Syrian capital, a security source said Tuesday.

“Al-Nusra Front’s emir for the Damascus region and two of his deputies were arrested two months ago,” the Damascus-based source told Agence France Presse on condition of anonymity.

“They were behind the March 22 assassination of Mohammed Saeed al-Bouti and 41 others in a mosque in the capital,” said the source, referring to a top Sunni cleric.

The three jihadists also allegedly planned a February suicide car-bomb attack near the ruling Baath party headquarters that killed 59 people, the source said.

The source also said the men were behind an attack which wounded Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar in December 2012 when two explosives and a car bomb exploded in front of his ministry.

Five people were killed and 23 others wounded in that attack.

On Monday, Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi told Lebanese channel Al-Mayadeen that “the group who killed Bouti and tried to kill me has been arrested”.

“The group’s confessions will be made public soon,” Halqi added.

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