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Jund Ash Sham aka Jund al-Sham (Arabic: جند الشام‎) (Soldiers of Damascus) is an anti-Fatah Sunni Muslim group formed in the Palestinian refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh in 2004 and is considered a splinter group of Osbat al-Nour.[1][2] Jund Ash Sham has claimed responsibility for the car bomb assassination of Hezbollah official Ghaleb Awwali claiming that the assassination was part of a plan to eradicate Shiite heresy. Later however a man claiming to be the group's leader denied any involvement.[3] The group is now headed by Abu Youssef Sharqieh, former Fatah official.

Jund Ash Sham's military wing is headed by Imad Yassin, a dropout from Abu Mohjen's Osbat al-Ansar which has long been blacklisted by the United States as a terrorist faction linked to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network.[2]

The Dinniyeh group is said to have merged into Jund al-Sham. Dinniyeh leader Bassam Ahmad al-Kanj was killed in an uprising in the mountains of Dinniyeh in January 2000[4]. The Dinniyeh group then found shelter in Ayn al-Hilweh.[4]

In October 2003 Jund Ash-Sham fought with a Nasserist group outside Ain Al-Helwa. 4 people were injured.[5]

On March 19, 2005 Jund Ash Sham killed one British teacher outside of a theatre in Dohar, and injured 12 other people.[1]

In July 2005, Jund Ash Sham faxed a threat to assassinate several prominent Hezbollah allies and leaders, including former spiritual leader Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, to the Shiite Fatwa Center in Tyre.[4]

In October 2005, Jund al-Sham threatened to slaughter the German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis, who was heading the UN inquiry into the assassination of Rafik Hariri. Claiming that Mehlis was connected with Israel.

On June 2, 2006 the Russian Supreme Court banned Jund Ash Sham along with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group.[1]

The name

The name "Jund al-Sham" refers to Damascus at the time of the 7th century caliphate of Omar (the second Caliph). "Al-Sham" is said to be used nowadays to refer to old Damascus.[1]

References

  1. ^ a b c d Western Resistance: Russia: Two Islamic Groups Outlawed
  2. ^ a b Defense Update - News Analysis by David Eshel: 02/01/2005 - 02/28/2005
  3. ^ Hezbollah vows revenge after militant's killing. 19/07/2004. ABC News Online
  4. ^ a b c SyriaComment.com: Ahmed Abu Adas, Jund al-Sham and Mossad? (by t_desco)
  5. ^ Syria News
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