Damascus blast kills at least 10 people

Onlookers gather at the site of a powerful explosion in al-Maidan neighborhood

An explosion ripped through a police bus in the center of Syria’s capital Friday, killing at least 10 people and possibly 25 in an attack authorities blamed on a suicide bomber, an official and state-run television said.

Syrian television showed residents and paramedics carrying human remains. Other footage showed a bus with blood on its seats, and cars with blown-out windows and riddled with shrapnel.

“This is a criminal terrorist act,” an unidentified man shouted.

State television said 10 people have been confirmed dead, and authorities believe another 15 also had died based on human remains from the scene.

Television also said that 46 people were wounded. It did not specify the victims’ identities, but a Syrian official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak publicly to the media, said the target of the attack appeared to be a bus carrying policemen.

The blast went off at an intersection in the central Damascus neighborhood of Midan on Friday, the start of the weekend in Syria and much of the Arab world.

Compared to many parts of the country which have been convulsed by the 10-month old uprising, Damascus has been relatively quiet under the tight control of ruthless security agencies loyal to President Bashar Assad.

Air force Col. Riad al-Asaad, leader of the main armed group fighting the regime, denied responsibility for Friday’s bus bombing in an interview with pan-Arab Al-Jazeera TV.

He said his organization, the Free Syrian Army, “doesn’t have the experience to carry out such explosions.” He spoke from Turkey, where the group is based.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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