Sheikh Muhammad Adnan Al-Afyouni, the Mufti of Damascus, has been killed in a “terrorist explosion” near the Syrian capital, the SANA news agency reported. Al-Afyouni was one of the region’s most prominent Islamic scholars.
Sheikh Al-Afyouni died in the town of Qudsaya, near Damascus, on Thursday evening. Government sources told SANA that an “explosive device” had been planted on his car.
No terrorist group has as yet been blamed for or taken responsibility for the bombing.
As one of the country’s most senior Islamic scholars, Sheikh Al-Afyouni attended religious ceremonies alongside President Bashar Assad. At a celebration marking the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday last November, Sheikh Al-Afyouni denounced terrorism and prayed for the Syrian government and army.
Though Syria has been torn asunder by war and insurgency for nearly a decade, the killing of the Sunni cleric is the most high-profile assassination of a government-allied religious leader since a suicide bomber killed more than two dozen people in a mosque in 2013.
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