APTOPIX Mideast Jordan Syria

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Two Syrian al Qaeda-affiliated rebel groups this week called for terror attacks against Syrian civilians in retaliation for the mass killings by nerve gas near Damascus, according to U.S. officials.

The jihadist rebel groups, the Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), both of which are linked to al Qaeda, vowed on social media and Internet postings over the past several days to conduct the attacks on Syrian civilians linked to the ruling Alawite religious group, according to U.S. officials familiar with translations of the Arabic language web postings.

Al-Nusra Front leader Abu-Mohammad al-Jawlani said in an audio message to the group Sunday that a military campaign has begun to exact revenge for the chemical weapons attacks on Goutah, near Damascus.

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