Twin bombings targeting security service buildings rock central Damascus
“A terrorist attack with two bombs occurred in Al-Mehdi Street in the Abu Rummaneh district,” Syrian state television reported.
The bombs struck a building under construction near the Syrian army's headquarters. The building, which was empty at the time of the blast, is a base for army officers who guard the offices of the joint chiefs of staff, located about 180 meters away.
Four army officers were lightly injured in the attacks, officials said.
A Free Syrian Army brigade claimed responsibility for the two blasts. The attacks were a response to a massacre in Daraya, a town near Damascus, where some 330 were killed last week, the FSA said. Government forces and rebels blamed each other for the killings.
The Abu Rummaneh district is home to Syria’s Ministry of Defense, as well as a number of foreign embassies, including those of Denmark, Egypt, India, Iraq, Jordan, the Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Sweden and the Vatican.
The district also houses several buildings of the Syrian security services, and the office of Vice President Faruq al-Shara.
Sunday's twin bombing inside the capital was the second in recent weeks to hit Abu Rummaneh. On August 15, a bomb exploded outside the Dama Rose hotel where UN observers stayed before ending their mission to Syria. Three people were wounded in the blast, which hit a military compound parking lot.
State media also reported that a car bomb had killed 15 people Saturday near a Palestinian refugee camp in the southern outskirts of Damascus. State news agency SANA blamed an "armed terrorist group" for the attack.
Another bomb targeted an army officer's car in Damascus on Saturday, killing the officer and injuring others. In a separate incident the same day, one person was killed and two children were injured when a suicide car bomb detonated in the city's eastern Deir al-Zour province, local media reported.
At least 1,600 people were killed in Syria last week, UNICEF reported, making it the deadliest week yet in the ongoing conflict. A violent uprising engulfed the Arab country over 18 months ago.
A view shows the wreckage after an explosion in Damascus September 2,2012, in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA. (Reuters/SANA)