Bomb kills eight people in central Damascus square
Conflicting reports as to whether explosion was caused by a bomb or a mortar shell
People gather around the scene of the bomb explosion in front of of al-Hijaz train station in central Damascus November today. Photograph: Reuters
A bomb exploded in central Damascus today, killing eight people and wounding 50, with women and children among the casualties, Syria’s state news agency SANA said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a pro-opposition monitoring group, reported seven dead and at least 20 wounded in the attack. It cited conflicting reports from activists as to whether the explosion was caused by a bomb or a mortar shell.
SANA said some of the wounded were in critical condition after the blast hit Hejaz square in the heart of the Syrian capital. It blamed the attack on “terrorists”, the word state media often use for rebels fighting president Bashar al-Assad.
It said the blast was caused by an improvised device planted at an office entrance in an area under construction.
Rebels have often planted bombs or carried out mortar strikes in Damascus since the conflict, which began with peaceful protests in March 2011, turned into a civil war. Well over 100,000 people have been killed in the bloodshed.
Earlier, residents reported seeing a mortar bomb land near the army’s General Staff headquarters in Umayyad Square, a big road intersection in Damascus. They had no word on casualties.
In southern Syria, a powerful car bomb exploded outside an Airforce Intelligence branch in the city of Suweida, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The Suweida region is home to Syria’s Druze minority, which has generally remained neutral in the conflict, although some Druze have joined paramilitary forces supporting Assad.
Suweida has remained under government control and has largely been free of violence. The Observatory said it had no casualty count yet from the bombing there.