Al Qaeda veteran appears in Al Nusrah Front video, criticizes rival || By Thomas Joscelyn


unnamedAbu Firas al Suri, a senior al Qaeda operative, was sent to Syria from Yemen in 2013. According to the Al Nusrah Front, Al Suri served as an “envoy” for Osama bin Laden and helped establish Lashkar-e-Taiba. The picture above is from an Al Nusrah Front video

A recently released video produced by the Al Nusrah Front features Abu Firas al Suri, an al Qaeda veteran who has waged jihad since the late 1970s. In his video debut, al Suri criticizes the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS), a jihadist group that has been disowned by al Qaeda’s senior leadership. The Al Nusrah Front is al Qaeda’s official branch inside Syria and has been openly fighting ISIS both online and on the ground.

Abu Firas is one of the senior al Qaeda officials who was entrusted to mediate the dispute, but those efforts have failed.

“I was not intending to talk about the State (ISIS) and about its crimes against the Islamic ummah and against Islam,” Abu Firas says in the video, according to a translation obtained by The Long War Journal. However, an ISIS leader known as Abu Muhammad al Adnani recently accused Abu Abdallah al Shami, a Nusrah Front official, of “lying and slander.” Al Adnani also called for Allah to curse the lying party in the dispute, by which al Adnani meant the Al Nusrah Front.

Abu Firas says that al Adani’s speech, which was widely disseminated online, was “devastating” and therefore he had to respond.

Abu Firas addresses two issues in his response to ISIS: the assassination of al Qaeda’s top representative in Syria, known as Abu Khalid al Suri, and ISIS’ habit of declaring other Muslims to be apostates.

Shortly before Abu Khalid al Suri (whose real name was Mohamed Bahaiah) was killed, Abu Firas says the two met. Abu Khalid claimed to have received prior warnings about an impending attack on him by ISIS. “They put me on the black list and they want to assassinate me,” Abu Khalid said, according to Abu Firas’ account.

Abu Firas claims he warned Abu Khalid to take special precautions, but the attack was successful the day after they met, on Feb. 23.

Abu Khalid al Suri worked with Abu Firas to end the disagreement between ISIS and the Al Nusrah Front. But all he did was earn ISIS’ enmity.

Another senior al Qaeda official in Syria, a Saudi known as Sanafi al Nasr, has made similar claims on his Twitter feed. Nasr has claimed that Abu Khalid al Suri warned him about ISIS’ threats just two weeks prior to the suicide bombing. [See LWJ report, Head of al Qaeda ‘Victory Committee’ in Syria.]

Read More Here:  Al Qaeda veteran appears in Al Nusrah Front video, criticizes rival

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