DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — A funeral is planned tomorrow in Syria for a top Sunni Muslim cleric who was among 49 people killed in a suicide bombing yesterday at a mosque in the Syrian capital.
The sheik (Mohammad said Ramadan al-Buti) was killed as he gave a sermon. The blast, which also wounded nearly 80 others, was one of the most brazen assassinations of Syria's civil war.
The cleric was the most senior religious figure killed in the war. And his slaying was a major blow to President Bashar Assad -- since he had supported the regime despite being from the majority Sunni sect. Assad is from a minority sect.
Syria's main opposition group is condemning the blast and expressing solidarity with the Syrian people, hinting that the bombing was the work of Assad's regime.
GRAPHICSBANK: Sheikh Mohammad Said Ramadan al-Buti, as 84 year old Sunni Muslim cleric, Damascus, Syria, graphic element on gray (22 Mar 2013)
APPHOTO BEI116: In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, the Eman Mosque is seen destroyed after a suicide bomber blew himself up, killing Sheikh Mohammad Said Ramadan al-Buti, an 84-year-old cleric known to all Syrians as a religious scholar, at the Mazraa district, in Damascus, Syria, Thursday, March 21, 2013. A suicide bomber blew himself up during evening prayers inside a mosque in Damascus Thursday, killing a top Sunni Muslim preacher and longtime supporter of President Bashar Assad and least 13 other people, state TV reported. Al-Buti's death is a big blow to Syria's embattled leader, who is fighting mainly Sunni rebels seeking his ouster. (AP Photo/SANA) (21 Mar 2013)
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