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January 25, 2014 1:00 pm

Israeli Official Warns of Rising Jihadi Threat From Syria

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Free Syrian Army fighter prepares to shot RPG at the Syrian Army in Homs, Syria. Photo: wiki commons.

AP – A sharp increase in the number of al-Qaida linked fighters joining the fight against President Bashar Assad in Syria is threatening to spill over the borders and prompting the Jewish state to re-evaluate its policy of neutrality in the civil war next door, a senior Israeli intelligence official warned on Friday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because military regulations prevent him from releasing the information, claimed more than 30,000 al-Qaida linked fighters are active in Syria, a huge increase over previous Western estimates. He did not disclose how Israel reached the figure or specify which groups were included in the count, only defining the fighters as believers in “global jihad,” which he said meant a mix of those linked to al-Qaida or inspired by the terror network.

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