Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood was falsely reported as claiming responsibility for two suicide bombings in Damascus that killed 44 people on Friday, but the organisation later issued a denial and said its site had been hacked.
AFP news agency initially said that the Muslim Brotherhood claimed responsability for the suicide bombs.
“This is the beginning of the liberation of Damascus and the tip of the iceberg,” the Brotherhood was reported as saying.
But the Muslim Brotherhood denied any involvement in the attack, and said that its website had been hacked.
The spokesman for Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood, Zuhair Salem, denied said the claim was “completely fabricated under our name on the internet.”
It was “completely orchestrated by the regime, just as the attacks were, ” he added.
AFP later admitted that it had been duped by the fake website.
A source close to the party told Al Arabiya that the cloning of the Brotherhood’s website was the work of the Syrian intelligence, trying to drag the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood into the crisis.
The confusion and conspiracy theories came as thousands of mourners carrying Syrian flags and pictures of the dead took part in a mass funeral on Saturday. Mourners carried coffins draped in the red, white and black Syrian flags into the eighth-century Omayyad Mosque, where they were placed on the ground for prayers.
President Bashar al-Assad that the bombings, which also wounded 166 people, were the work of Al-Qaeda, but the opposition Syrian National Council said that the regime had carried them out.
The SNC said “the Syrian regime, alone, bears all the direct responsibility for the two terrorist explosions”.
They were the first suicide bombings since the unrest began in mid-March, adding new and ominous dimensions to a conflict that has already brought the country to the brink of civil war.
The United Nations says more than 5,000 people have been killed since March, when the uprising began and the regime responded by deploying tanks and troops to crush protests across Syria.