Syrian authorities kill five in clashes

DAMASCUS, Syria, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- Anti-terrorist units have killed five suspected terrorists affiliated with al-Qaida in central Syria, the government said Saturday.

An Interior Ministry statement said clashes between the gunmen and the authorities Friday also injured two officers during a raid on a shelter used by the Jund al-Sham group in Hama province, 130 miles (209 kilometers) north of Damascus.


The statement, carried by the official Syrian news agency, SANA, added the authorities also seized weapons, explosives and bombs in a deserted house in the village of Jibreen.

It said the group had taken the house as a base for its operations, adding that all the suspects at the site were killed.

The ministry added Jund al-Sham was "on the verge of carrying out terrorist operations to shake the security and stability of society."

Jund al-Sham was co-founded by Jordanian-born suspected terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarkawi, who is wanted for heading al-Qaida's operations in Iraq. Another founder, Khaled al-Arouri, is currently in prison in Iran, and co-founder Abdul Hadi Daglas was killed in Iraq at the outset of the U.S.-led invasion of the country.


The Syrian authorities clashed with Jund al-Sham militants last month near the Lebanese border, in which some of the gunmen were killed and others were arrested.

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