DAMASCUS, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- Syria said on Thursday that a group of assailants who tried and failed to blow up the U.S. embassy in Damascus last month had no relations with extremist organizations outside Syria, the official SANA news agency reported.
The conclusion was announced by an official source of the Interior Ministry after an investigation by anti-terrorism authorities into the Sept. 12 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Damascus, SANA said.
The source confirmed that the attackers were four Syrians from the Damascus countryside as suggested by a preliminary probe, giving their names as Abdul-Rauf Saleh, 31, Bilal Saleh, 25, Samir Abdul-Ghani Saleh, 25, and Ramzi Atef Shalabi, 25.
Three of them were killed by security guards in an exchange of fire and the fourth, Bilal Saleh, was injured and arrested, who later died in a hospital of his wounds.
Investigations showed that Abdul-Rauf Saleh, leader of the group, his brother Bilal and their relative Samir had started preparing for the operation since as early as 2004 in Saudi Arabia, where they worked and attended religious lessons.
"Their extremism has been increased by ... the U.S. unlimited support to Israel against the Arabs and Muslims, particularly in Palestine and south Lebanon," the source said.
"They agreed to execute an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Damascus and planned to bomb the door and storm into its offices and kill whoever they find in," the source said.
The group had no links with al-Qaida, but it had intended to use the name of al-Zarqawi, head of al-Qaida in Iraq who was killed by he U.S. force, to link its attack to other anti-U.S. terrorist attacks, SANA quoted the source as saying.
"They intended to distribute a recording tape and broadcast it on TV stations and mass media under the name of Abu-Musa'ab al-Zarqawi brigade after the operation," the source added.
The plot also involved two other relatives of Abdul-Rauf Saleh in Syria, who had been arrested and would be brought to justice through necessary legal procedures, the source said. No Americans were hurt in the attack, but a dozen of others were wounded. Enditem