Bombing near center of Syrian capital kills 8
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — A bomb exploded in a central district of Damascus on Wednesday, killing at least eight people, Syrian state media reported.
Official news agency SANA said the bomb detonated at the entrance to the headquarters of the country’s railways authority near central Hijaz square at midday. Eight people were killed and at least 50 were wounded in the blast, it added. It quoted unmanned officials as blaming “terrorists” for the attack, a term used by President Bashar Assad’s government to refer to the rebels fighting to overthrow him.
State TV broadcast images showing several wounded people walking away from the site of the blast, passing apartment buildings and shops with their windows blown out.
In a similar incident southeast of the capital, state-run Al Ikhbariya TV said an explosion went off in the city of Sweidah, causing a number of casualties. It did not give a number. If confirmed, it would be the first attack targeting a predominantly Druse city.
Syria’s civil war has taken increasingly sectarian overtones in the past year as predominantly Sunni Muslim rebels fight a government dominated largely by Alawites, a sect of Shiite Islam to which Assad belongs. Syria’s Christians have been targeted in previous attacks because Sunni rebels perceive them as siding with Assad.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Wednesday’s attacks.
Rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad have frequently targeted Damascus with bombs. Armed opposition fighters tied to al-Qaida have previously claimed bombings of government and security institutions in the capital and beyond.
Associated Press writer Barbara Surk in Beirut contributed to this report.