Bomb­ings in Syr­ian cap­i­tal kill 21

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - BEN HUB­BARD New York Times

A se­ries of car bomb blasts shook the Syr­ian cap­i­tal, Da­m­as­cus, early Sun­day, killing 21 peo­ple and high­light­ing se­cu­rity gaps in parts of the coun­try con­trolled by Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad, ac­cord­ing to an op­po­si­tion mon­i­tor­ing group.

A sui­cide bomber blew up the car he was driv­ing near the heart of Da­m­as­cus af­ter be­ing sur­rounded by se­cu­rity forces, while two other car bombs were det­o­nated af­ter se­cu­rity forces tried to in­ter­cept the ve­hi­cles on the edge of the city.

Syr­ian state tele­vi­sion re­ported that eight peo­ple had died and 13 had been injured, but the Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights, an op­po­si­tion mon­i­tor­ing group based in Bri­tain, re­ported that 21 were killed, in­clud­ing the three at­tack­ers.

The at­tack came on the first full work day af­ter the Eid al-Fitr hol­i­day mark­ing the end of the fast­ing month of Ra­madan.

No group im­me­di­ately claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tacks, but the ji­hadis of the Is­lamic State and mil­i­tants linked to al-Qaida have claimed re­cent at­tacks inside the city. Bomb at­tacks in March that tar­geted buses car­ry­ing pil­grims and a ju­di­cial build­ing near the city cen­tre killed dozens of peo­ple.

As­sad’s forces have strug­gled to main­tain se­cu­rity in ar­eas un­der their con­trol.

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