Syrian PM survives deadly Damascus blast: state TV

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A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on 29 April 2013 shows people gathered at the scene of a blast in the Mazzeh district of Damascus. (Photo: AFP / SANA / HO)

Published Monday, April 29, 2013

Updated 4:03 pm: Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi escaped an assassination bid on Monday, surviving a blast that targeted his convoy in Damascus, Syrian state television reported.

"The terrorist explosion in Mazzeh was an attempt to target the prime minister's convoy and Dr. Wael al-Halqi was unharmed," state television reported.

State news SANA said the explosion killed "many people" without putting a number.

State television said the explosion happened near a public garden and a school in the neighborhood, a well-secured district that is home to embassies, government buildings, intelligence facilities and several political figures.

"I was walking in the street when suddenly there was a very powerful explosion and I saw a car burning and people running," a young man told AFP at the scene.

"I heard glass shattering," he added, saying he had tried to hide for fear a second explosion would follow.

An AFP photographer at the scene said several vehicles were destroyed in the blast, including a bus burned out by the explosion. The windshields of other cars nearby were also blown out.

Mazzeh is an upscale neighborhood in western Damascus, home to a number of senior government figures.

The last major attack in Damascus was on April 9, when a massive blast killed at least 15 people in the center of the capital.

Radical opposition groups have increasingly used car and suicide bombs to target senior government figures as well as civilians.

In July 2012, a suicide bomb attack killed Syria's defense minister and deputy defense minister and left the country's interior minister seriously wounded.



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