US claims Syria strike, denies hitting mosque where 49 are killed

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AL-JINEH, Syria: The US said on Friday it carried out an air strike in Syria against an Al-Qaeda meeting but denied hitting a mosque where a monitor said 49 people were killed. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said most of the dead in the late Thursday raid on the village of Al-Jineh in the northern province of Aleppo were civilians. In Washington, the Pentagon insisted a mosque was not hit but rather a nearby building containing “dozens” of Al-Qaeda members, “several” of whom were killed. “The mosque is still standing and relatively unscathed,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said. “The building we targeted was adjacent” and the strike “clearly hit the intended target.” He showed a black-and-white image of what appeared to be an old mosque with a flattened building a short distance away. Another Pentagon spokesman later said: “Intelligence indicated that Al-Qaeda leaders used this partially constructed community meeting hall as a gathering place, and as a place to educate and indoctrinate Al-Qaeda fighters.”

AFP

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