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‘Suicide terrorism’ in Syria threatening Western states: Report

Syrian troops wipe out large numbers of militants

“Suicide terrorism” is thriving in Syria, has begun spreading and destabilizing neighboring Lebanon, and threatens the security of Western states, a new study shows.
The study, carried out by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, found that fifteen percent of all suicide bombings in the world took place in Syria in 2013, and noted a surge of similar attacks in Lebanon since the start of 2014.
“This is the first study of its kind in the world that studies the use of suicide bombing in Syria as a modus operandi,” Dr. Reuven Erlich, the head of the center said.
“It’s relevant to the security of the West. This is not merely a theoretical study,” he added.
According to the report’s authors, the introduction of suicide bombings in Syria was imported by terrorists copying Al-Qaeda attacks in Iraq, and in other battle arenas.
The two organizations most associated with this form of terrorism in Syria are Al-Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda’s official branch, and its rival, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Suicide bombings carried out in 2012 and 2013 caused heavy losses and damages to the Syrians.
“These attacks spread to Lebanon in 2014, and have become the leading modus operandi” of Takfiri groups fighting Hezbollah and the Shia community there, the report added.
The biggest number of suicide terror attacks was carried out by Al-Nusra Front. Since its founding in January of 2012 to 2013, the organization carried out 43 of the recorded 50 suicide bombings in Syria that year, and in 2013, it carried out 34 additional attacks.
ISIL, for its part, carried out nine suicide bombings since its founding in May 2013.
Both groups carried out a combined number of 43 suicide bombings in 2013, using 53 attackers, the report continued.
Since the start of 2014, five suicide bombings tore through Hezbollah-dominated areas in Lebanon – four of them launched by Al-Nusra Front, and one by ISIL.
In Syria, the bombers most commonly used suicide explosive vests strapped to their bodies. Car and truck bombs laden with explosives were also used to cause mass casualties and widespread carnage.
“Some attacks included a combination of two to three car bombs, simultaneously or gradually,” the report said. A number of attacks displayed “a high level of sophistication and professionalism. In one terror attack, six suicide bombers detonated themselves at the same time against two adjacent targets,” the report added. The use of simultaneous bombers against high value targets is spreading.
Most of the suicide bombers were foreign volunteers, mainly from the Arab world. Saudi Arabian bombers formed a bulk of the attackers.
These developments pose a security threat well beyond Syria, the report’s authors stated. The spread of suicide terrorism to Lebanon, which is undermining the country’s internal stability, is one clear example of how this form of attack can spread.
“In our assessment, the longer the [Syrian] civil war drags out, the more likely it is for suicide bomb terror attacks to occur in other states. Foreign activists fighting in Syria who return to their states might initiate, or take part in, suicide attacks, while using their widespread operational experience acquired in Syria, and the connections they formed with Al-Qaeda,” the report added.

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