Page last updated at 12:13 GMT, Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Fatah al-Islam says leader 'dead'

Shaker al-Abssi pictured in March 2007
Shaker al-Abssi was ambushed, Fatah al-Islam claim

The militant Islamist group Fatah al-Islam has said that its leader, who fled from Lebanon last year, has been killed or captured in Syria.

The group said Shaker al-Abssi and two other members had been ambushed by the Syrian security forces in the small town of Jermana, south of Damascus.

It said Abu Mohamad Awad had been named as his successor.

A US intelligence monitoring group said the authenticity of the online statement had not been confirmed.

It was posted on a website used by many militant groups.

Syria says Fatah al-Islam was behind a bomb blast in Damascus in September which killed 17 people.

Fatah al-Islam fought a three-month battle with the Lebanese army last year in a Palestinian refugee camp in Tripoli.

About 400 people, including civilians and soldiers, were killed.

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