Watch: Nusra Front leader admits ideological links to Muslim Brotherhood in Al Jazeera interview

The file photo shows the al-Nusra Front terrorists riding a captured tank near Idlib, northwestern Syria. (AFP)
Updated 05 July 2017

Watch: Nusra Front leader admits ideological links to Muslim Brotherhood in Al Jazeera interview

JEDDAH: The leader of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front admitted ideological links with the Muslim Brotherhood in an interview with Qatari state-funded Al Jazeera news channel.
Abu Mohammad Al-Julani said that while the militant group differed greatly from the Muslim Brotherhood, the two organizations shared the same ideology.
“Al-Qaeda’s ideology is derived from the Holy Qu’ran, Sunnah and Prophet Muhammad successors’ teachings,” Al-Julani said.
He said of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s Sayyid Qutb: “He (Qutb) derived his ideology from the same source that we derived ours from.”
But he added: “Although this may be similar to many factions, Al-Qaeda has been interested in practical and serious views: jihad.”
Al-Nusra Front — also known by their Arabic name Jabhat Al-Nusra — is Al-Qaeda’s formal affiliate in Syria and one of the most powerful rebel groups fighting the Assad regime.
He later revealed in the interview that Al-Qaeda not only adopted the same ideological approach, but also shared the same educational teachings as the Muslim Brotherhood.
He explained that books by Qutb were used in the teachings at Al-Qaeda’s mujahedeen preparation centers, where the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is described as a jihadi movement. “We must study all the jihadist movements in the arena,” Al-Julani said.
The Islamic scholar Hassan Al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt in 1928, and Qutb later shaped it.
Saudi Arabia formally designated the group as a terrorist organization in 2014.
In 2016, the Al-Nusra Front announced in a video that the group was breaking its links with Al-Qaeda and changed its name to Jabhat Fatah Al-Sham — the front of the liberation of Al-Sham, the historical Arabic name for the Levantine region.
“We declare the complete cancelation of all operations under the name of Jabhat Al-Nusra and the formation of a new group operating under the name ‘Jabhat Fatah Al-Sham,’ noting that this new organization has no affiliation to any external entity.”

Iran reports COVID-19 death every five minutes, hospitals struggle

Updated 6 min 57 sec ago

Iran reports COVID-19 death every five minutes, hospitals struggle

  • Some experts have doubted the accuracy of Iran’s official coronavirus tolls

DUBAI: Hospitals in many Iranian provinces are running out of capacity to handle COVID-19 cases, health authorities say, with novel coronavirus now killing around 300 people a day or one person every five minutes.

Authorities have complained of poor social distancing, and Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi said the pandemic could cause 600 daily deaths in coming weeks if Iranians failed to respect health protocols in the Middle East’s hardest-affected country.

A caption that ran on state television news said an Iranian died of novel coronavirus every five minutes, a rate that corresponds to daily death tallies reported by the authorities of just above or below 300 over the past 20 days.

Health Ministry spokesman Sima Sadat Lari told state TV on Sunday that 32,616 people had died of the disease and the number of confirmed cases had reached 568,896.

Some experts have doubted the accuracy of Iran’s official coronavirus tolls. A report by the Iranian parliament’s research center in April suggested that the coronavirus tolls might be almost twice as many as those announced by the health ministry.

The report said that Iran’s official coronavirus figures were based only on the number of deaths in hospitals and those who had already tested positive for the coronavirus.

Schools, mosques, shops, restaurants and other public institutions in Tehran have been closed since Oct. 3. As COVID-19 cases and deaths continued to hit record levels, the closure was extended until Nov. 20, state TV reported.

Officials said “extreme measures and limitations” will be imposed in at least 43 counties across the country for one week, where the infection rates have been alarming. TV reported that 21 one of Iran’s 31 provinces were on a coronavirus red alert.

Iran has blamed US sanctions for hampering Tehran’s efforts to tackle the outbreak. Washington, accusing Iran of “incompetent and deadly governance,” has refused to lift sanctions that were reimposed after 2018 when Trump exited Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six powers.