Al Qaeda leader threatens Russia: 'Kill their people'

Al Qaeda leader threatens Russia: 'Kill their people'
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The head of the al Qaeda affiliate in Syria is calling on followers to attack Russia in response to its airstrike campaign in the country.

In a recording released late Monday, Abu Mohammed al-Jolani, head of al-Nusra Front, said followers should retaliate against Russia.


"If the Russian army kills the people of Syria, then kill their people,” he said. “And if they kill our soldiers, then kill their soldiers. An eye for an eye.”

The threat came hours before two rockets hit the Russian embassy in Damascus. There were no injuries or fatalities in the attack, according to the Russian news agency Interfax.

Russia began carrying out airstrikes in Syria two weeks ago. Last week, it also started firing cruise missiles from ships in the Caspian Sea.

The Kremlin’s stated goal has been to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other terrorist groups, such as al-Nusra. But over the weekend, Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinOvernight Defense: Ex-Ukraine ambassador offers dramatic day of testimony | Talks of 'crisis' at State Department | Trump tweets criticism of envoy during hearing | Dems warn against 'witness intimidation' | Trump defends his 'freedom of speech' Highly irregular: Rudy, the president, and a venture in Ukraine Biden responds to North Korea: 'I wear their insults as a badge of honor' MORE appeared to confirm that his mission is to prop up the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In his recording, Jolani also put a bounty on Assad and Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah and an Assad ally.

Russia will come to regret its intervention in Syria, Jolani threatened.

“The war in Syria will make the Russians forget the horrors that they found in Afghanistan," he said. "They will be shattered, with God's permission, on Syria's doorstep."

Tuesday morning’s attack on the Russian embassy happened during a rally of supporters of Russia’s airstrikes.

In a press conference last week, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter cautioned that Russia’s actions would have consequences.

“This will have consequences for Russia itself which is rightfully fearful of attack upon Russia,” Carter said. “And I also expect that in the coming days the Russians will begin to suffer causalities in Syria.”