Lebanon's most wanted Islamist terrorist 'killed planting bombs for Syrian rebels'
Jawhar was said by security sources quoted in the Lebanese media to have been killed in Qusayr, near the embattled city of Homs. According to one report, he blew himself up when a bomb he was preparing detonated prematurely.
He was the head of Fatah-al-Islam, a militant group that had fought the official Lebanese army and other militias. It is alleged to have loose ties with al-Qaeda, and is certainly part of a wider network of militant Sunni groups whose involvement in the Syrian opposition has alarmed not only potential western backers but also the opposition itself.
"They are growing quickly, it’s true,” Bassma Kodmani, principal spokesman of the Syrian National Council, told The Daily Telegraph. She said groups of fighters from outside the country were coming in with "a different agenda”.
Jawhar, believed to be in his 30s, originally joined the Muslim Brotherhood but became progressively more radical, becoming leader of Fatah-al-Islam two years ago. An expert bomb-maker, he was said to have masterminded attacks on both the Lebanese army and United Nations peacekeepers.
A second leader, Walid Boustani, who escaped from prison in Lebanon in 2010 and also went to Syria, is said to have been killed by members of the Free Syrian Army after an argument.
Qusayr has been bombarded by the Syrian regime’s forces for months, but half remains under rebel control, despite a major tank assault which was beaten off last Thursday.
Although the FSA, which answers to the Syrian National Council, is largely a mixture of defectors and local residents without political affiliation, some semi-independent units have been formed of more radical Islamists, including the Farouq Battalion, which operates in Homs and Qusayr. (...)