Shiite religious building destroyed by Al Qaeda offshoot in Syria
A Syrian rebel fighter points his riffle through a hole in sandbags as he holds a position in a trench, 100m far from the regime-controlled military base in Idlib province. AFP photo
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Extremist militants who claim belong to an Al Qaeda linked group blew up a sacred Shiite building in the Syrian province Deir Al Zor activists reported Sunday.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the attack on the Shiite religious building occured on Friday in the eastern village of Hatlah.
Earlier in week, rebels in Hatla killed 60 shiites.
"Videos show the destruction of a Shiite hussainiyah by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in the village of Hatlah in Deir Ezzor," the group said, according to AFP.
"The destruction was apparently carried out the day before yesterday (Friday)," it added.
Two videos distributed by the Observatory show fighters, identifying themselves as belonging to 'The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant", inside the religious building and stepping on Shiite books.
The film continues from outside the building, and a powerful explosion destroying the building is captured on camera.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is the name for the group made up of Al-Qaeda's Iraqi branch and the jihadist Syrian Al-Nusra Front.
The destruction of the hussainiyah, the official name for the religious building, comes in the aftermath of brutal fighting between rebels and armed Shiites in Hatlah.
The clashes came after Shiite militiamen from the predominantly Sunni village attacked a nearby rebel checkpoint, the group said.
The fighting has taken on increasingly sectarian overtones, particularly with the entry into the conflict of extremist fighters from other Arab countries, according to AFP.