Activists: Islamist militants destroy Sufi shrine in eastern Syria

By REUTERS
October 13, 2013 19:06




AMMAN - A Sufi Muslim shrine was blown up in eastern Syria on Sunday, opposition activists said, blaming al-Qaida-affiliated militants who have joined in the increasingly sectarian civil war.

Militants placed explosives at the shrine of Sheikh Eissa Abdelqader al-Rifaiy in the rebel-held town of Busaira, 45 km (30 miles) east of the provincial capital of Deir al-Zor, and detonated them on Sunday morning, they said.

The activists contacted by Reuters said they suspected al-Qaida-linked fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) were behind the explosion.

"The Islamic State has a base outside the town. The ease by which they got to the shrine indicates that their presence is growing," activist Abu al-Tayyeb al-Deiri said from Deir al-Zor.

Video footage and a photo released by the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group showed the shrine reduced to a field of shattered rock and twisted metal with trees and a small domed building in the background.


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