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Mosque blast in Syria claims at least 25 lives

By Tomas Monzon
Mosque blast in Syria claims at least 25 lives
A mosque blast in the northern city of Arahi, Syria claimed at least 25 lives. Screenshot: Google Maps

ARIHA, Syria, July 4 (UPI) -- An explosion at a mosque in the Idlib province of Syria Friday killed members of al-Qaida affiliate group, al-Nusra Front.

The blast happened in the town of Ariha, where members of the Front were gathered at a mosque for a Ramadan ceremony. The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that at least 25 members were killed, one of them being a non-Syrian leader.

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Opposition-based websites, however, claim the blast took more than 40 casualties.

Though the perpetrators of the attack have not been identified, al-Nusra Front supporters blame Islamic State militants, who have fought the Front on other occasions in Syria.

Ariha was one of the last places to be controlled by the government until it was conquered by rebels in May, when Islamist coalition Jaish al-Fateh (Conquest Army) took control of the city in a swift attack.

Al-Nusra Front members were in the city to celebrate iftar, which is the first meal that Muslims eat after their Ramadan fast. They had also joined 13 other Islamist groups Thursday to plan an offensive in the northern city of Aleppo.

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