Jordanian extremists join IS in Syria • The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights
The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights

Jordanian extremists join IS in Syria

Hard-line Jordanian Salafists Omar Mahdi Zeidan and Saad Hneity have joined the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in Syria, according to jihadist sources.

The sources on Saturday said that Zeidan arrived last week in the Syrian town of Raqqa to join IS ranks.

Known as an influential speaker and youth leader within the hard-line Jordanian Jihadi-Salafist movement in the northern city of Irbid, the cleric is a vocal supporter of IS.

Zeidan recently posted fatwas and speeches on the Internet attacking Salafist leaders Abu Mohammad Al Maqdissi and Abu Qatada for their criticisms of IS.

IS members confirmed Zeidan’s arrival to the so-called “caliphate”, or territory under the jihadist group’s control in Iraq and Syria, in messages posted via the social networking site Twitter on Friday.

It was unclear how Zeidan got there, with sources within the Jordanian Salafist movement claiming that he illegally crossed into Syria from Jordan last Tuesday. 

Meanwhile, Hneity, the number two leader of the Jordanian Salafist movement, confirmed via Twitter and Facebook on Friday that he has joined IS in Syria and arrived on “caliphate soil”.

Hneity had travelled to Syria in February to act as mediator between warring jihadist groups, namely IS and Al Qaeda’s Syria branch, Jabhat Al Nusra.

His mediation was ultimately rejected by both sides, and he has since believed to have been acting as an adviser to IS. Despite remaining active on social networking sites, Friday’s posts marked the first time Hneity publicly declared his allegiance to the group.

Zeidan and Hneity’s arrival raises to 20 the total number of Jordanian clerics believed to be serving in leadership posts within IS.

Around 1,200 Jordanians are currently fighting alongside the jihadist group in Iraq and Syria, Salafist and Syrian jihadist sources claim. 

The terrorist group has no official presence in Jordan.

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