Two bus bomb blasts in the Christian mountain town of Bikfaya north of Beirut exploded on February 13, 2007 the day before a planned protest in support of the democratically elected government in Beirut killing 3 people. In March, four Syrians confessed to bombing the two buses. These bombers are now thought to have connections to Al Qaeda.
Farid Ghadry at Reform Party of Syria explains Syria’s relationship with Al Qaeda:
The Lebanese government recently accused the Syrian regime of backing the Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist group Fatah al-Islam, which investigators have linked to the twin bus bombings in Beirut last month that killed three and significantly raised tensions in a country already on edge. This takes place of course, amidst the controversial decision by the US State Department to partake in multilateral talks that included high level Syrian and Iranian representatives in Baghdad, ostensibly for the purposes of reaching a regional consensus by Iraq’s neighbors on how to best tackle the twin problems of Al Qaeda backed Sunni insurgency and the Iranian supported Shiia militias.
And so, we have come full circle.
The Lebanese security services tell us that Syrian Military Intelligence runs a Palestinian front group Fatah al Intifada which in turn spun off a supposedly independent wing nominally re-titled Fatah al-Islam, which hence became active in the Palestinian refugee camps located in the predominantly Sunni populated areas in northern Lebanon. Fatah al-Islam is nominally run by Shakir Absi, who in an interview with the Arab media last year claimed that he was a Jordanian of Palestinian decent. However, informed sources have indicated that Absi, while indeed of Palestinian decent, in fact grew up in the Yarmuk refugee camp in Syria and eventually enlisted in the Syrian Air Force. While Absi did spend three years in Syrian jail, he was suddenly released with a group of other Islamists, some of whom came to form the core of the national Jund al-Sham, a group that many in Syria deride as a convenient cut-out used by Syrian security to peddle the notion that the regime is really cracking down on extremists. Absi simply would not have been released so expeditiously if a deal had not been reached with Syrian security elements; the minority ruling elite does not fear the rise of Islamist extremism if they believe they have the ability to steer and channel those terrorists eager to wreck havoc towards external adversaries of the regime itself.
Absi has made no qualms in announcing his agenda’s affiliation with Al Qaeda and his proximity to the jihadist network in Iraq in interviews granted to Arabic media. Absi has filled the ranks of his terror group of hardened jihadi fighters returning from Iraq; many of whom had fought with the now deceased Abu Musab Zarqawi. Absi also maintains close contact and a collaborative relationship with Asbat al-Ansar–another Al Qaeda affiliated group that trains and sends foreign fighters to Iraq via Syria. Asbat al Ansar happens to be active in the same refugee camps in northern Lebanon where Absi’s group, Fatah al-Islam, just became operational.
Knowledgeable sources in Lebanon, Jordan, and in the US defense community have been warning for some time that the burgeoning terror network in the Levant is becoming a very real and direct threat to both the US and European homeland. Many indicators exist that the terror network that has been fermenting for the past two years in the Palestinian refugee camps in northern Lebanon overseen by Syrian Military Intelligence and the Al Qaeda in Iraq Abu-Ghadiyah network which operates from Damascus and northern Syria are in the advanced planning stages for spectacular external attacks against civilian targets in Europe and the U.S.
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There’s more at Reform Party of Syria.