Al Qaeda attacks in Syria

Telegraph:

"Suspected al-Qa'eda gunmen launched co-ordinated attacks on a diplomatic district of Damascus last night, sparking a fierce battle with security forces on the streets of the Syrian capital.

"Explosions and gunfire were heard close to the British ambassador's residence in the Mazzeh district that houses several embassies, while a building formerly housing United Nations offices was set alight.

"Unconfirmed reports from witnesses said that masked men fired two rocket-propelled grenades at the former mission, setting it on fire. They are then said to have sprayed gunfire in all directions with assault rifles.

...

"One local resident said that after the terrorists opened fire, a police car rushed to the scene and itself came under attack. The police returned fire and reinforcements, including plainclothes security forces, soon arrived. In the ensuing shoot-out, one of the two cars used by the assailants blew up, the witnesses said.

"Syrian security forces are then said to have killed three gunmen and taken a fourth into custody. A member of the security forces was said to have been seriously wounded."

Does al Qaeda have a rational for this attack? They certainly risk Syria racheting up security measures that will make it more difficult for al Qaeda to infiltrate into Iraq. Maybe they just do not like Syria's policy on the Palestinian-Israeli dispute. Heh.

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