A jihadist group claimed responsibility for a series of deadly bomb attacks carried out on Syria's second city of Aleppo, US monitors SITE Intelligence Group reported.
The al-Nusra Front said in a posting on jihadist Internet forums that it struck four targets yesterday being used by
regime forces -- a military officers' club, the municipal palace, the Al-Amir Hotel and another hotel, SITE reported.
"Allah graced the mujahedeen of the al-Nusra Front in the Aleppo to carry out an invasion of 'blowing up dens' and that blessed invasion included several simultaneous attacks targeting the (army's) security zone," it said, quoted by SITE
"These operations were met with much joy from Muslims, especially the operation blowing up the municipal palace where people started invoking Allah," it was quoted as saying.
The forum posting provided details and pictures of the targeted buildings after the bombings, and the militants who took part in the attacks.
Al-Nusra said that the buildings targeted were command centres or barracks for the army and the pro-regime shabiha militia.
The attack on the officers' club at 7:45 am (local time) was carried out by "the heroic martyrdom-seeking brother Abu Hamza al-Shami," who turned the facility "into rubble," said the jihadist forum posting.
Two minutes later, Abu Suleiman al-Shami blew up the tourist hotel, it said.
Then, "at precisely 8:05 am (local time), the building of the municipal palace was blown up with a car bomb that was parked in front of the main entrance."
Lastly, "at precisely 10:30 am (local time), the Al-Amir Hotel was blown up with a car bomb that was parked across from it. It was detonated while enemy elements were checking the cars parked in front of the hotel," it said according to SITE.
The statement was signed by the al-Nusra Front for the People of the Levant, a shadowy group unheard of until several months into Syria's uprising which broke out in March 2011.
It has claimed the majority of suicide attacks carried out during the uprising, including a twin suicide bombing in Damascus that killed 55 people in May last year.