Seventeen killed by bomb in Damascus
|Saturday, September 27,2008 03:27|
DAMASCUS (AFP) — A car bomb exploded near a Shiite shrine in southern
The car packed with 200 kilos (440 pounds) of explosives blew up near a security checkpoint on a road to
Interior Minister General Bassam Abdel Majid told the broadcaster the attack was "a terrorist act" and that all the casualties were civilians.
"A counter-terrorist unit is trying to track down the perpetrators... We can"t point the finger at any party."
The rare attack in a country known for its iron-fisted security came at (0545 GMT) during the morning rush-hour in the teeming neighbourhood of Sayeda Zeinab, the state-run
The district is popular among Shiite pilgrims from
Witnesses told state television the bomb could have claimed more victims if it had taken place a day later.
"It felt like an earthquake. The force of the explosion threw me out of bed," said one man who lives near the scene of the blast.
"Thank God this was Saturday. The catastrophe would have been bigger if the attack had taken place on Sunday when schools were open."
A boy said: "May Allah break the hands of those who did this."
State television broadcast footage showing damage to cars, a building and a bus, but journalists were prevented by security forces from approaching the scene which was cordoned off.
The precise target of the bombing was not immediately known.
The blast was the deadliest since a spate of attacks in the 1980s blamed on Muslim Brotherhood militants.
It was the worst since February when Hezbollah commander Imad Mughnieh, linked to attacks on Western and Israeli targets in the 1980s and 1990s, was killed in a
The Lebanese Shiite militant group blamed
Saturday"s attack also comes after
The Saudi-owned pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat said he was a senior officer "in charge of sensitive files and closely linked to the Syrian top brass."
On Thursday the head of the UN atomic agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, revealed that the watchdog"s probe into alleged illicit nuclear work in
He did not reveal the contact"s identity.
"The reason that
US President George W. Bush on Tuesday again accused Syria and its key regional ally Iran of sponsoring terrorism, saying in a farewell speech to the UN General Assembly that such violence "has no place in the modern world."