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Deadly blast rocks Damascus

Victims of explosion in Damascus.

Victims of explosion in Damascus.

DAMASCUS — At least 13 people have been killed and many more injured by a powerful explosion in Syria’s capital, Damascus, state media and activists say.

A bomb is believed to have been detonated in a square in the central district of Marjeh. Civilians and security personnel are among the dead.

Sporadic gunfire was heard in the area after the blast.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi survived a car bomb attack, which had targeted his convoy in the capital.

The latest attack took place near a hotel, shopping centre and interior ministry building in Marjeh, a busy commercial district.

It is not yet clear what the target of the attack was or who was behind it.

However, it highlights that people in the centre of the city are no longer safe, he says.

State television showed footage of wounded people being carried away amid widespread damage. The area was shrouded in dense smoke. Several vehicles could be seen burning and many buildings had shattered windows.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the cause of the blast was a car bomb.

The UK-based activist group monitors human rights violations on both sides of the conflict via a network of contacts across Syria.

It estimates that March was the bloodiest month yet, with more than 6,000 people killed – a third of them civilians.

Government forces and rebels have been fighting in and around Damascus for months, but neither have gained the upper hand. (BBC)

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