The powerful jihadist group Al-Nusra Front has denied that its chief Abu Mohammed al-Jawlani was wounded in fighting near the Syrian capital of Damascus.
“Dear brothers, please note that what is being reported by some channels about the injury to Sheikh al-Jawlani in Damascus is not true, thank God,” Nusra leader Al-Ghareeb al-Muhajir al-Qahtani said in a tweet late on Wednesday.
He accused the Syrian regime of also lying about the death of another fighter in central Syria.
“If the leadership is injured or the leadership is killed, jihad will go on until Judgment Day, but we should point out that the news of the injury to Sheikh Jawlani is incorrect,” he added.
Jawlani was reported wounded by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog, which said he had been hurt in southern Damascus province.
The Britain-based group, which relies on a network of activists, lawyers and doctors inside Syria for its information, was able to say only that Jawlani had been hit in the foot.
Jawlani last month pledged allegiance to Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, confirming suspicions of ties between the Syrian rebel group and the extremist organization.
Before the pledge, Al-Nusra had been deemed a “terrorist organization” by Washington over its alleged ties to Al-Qaeda’s branch in Iraq.
Al-Nusra Front, which seeks to establish an Islamic state in Syria, is among the most prominent organizations involved in the conflict.
It has gained notoriety for suicide bombings but also won admiration from other insurgents for its reputation as a formidable fighting force leading attacks on battlefronts across the country.