BEIRUT, April 27 — Seven people were killed and 20 wounded, including members of the security forces, in a suicide bombing in the central Damascus district of Midan today, Syria's state news agency SANA said.
Opposition activists said the explosion occurred as worshippers were coming out of the Zeen al-Abadeen mosque.
“About 30 minutes ago, I heard a really heavy blast. It felt like I was shaking and I think everyone in Damascus must have heard it,” said Mar Ram, an activist living in Midan, a focus of regular protests against President Bashar al-Assad.
“We've been hearing a lot of blasts in Damascus recently, action is picking up and it seems the (rebels) and Assad's forces are starting to battle it out in Damascus as well.”
Pro-government television channel Ikhabria said its reporters heard gunfire while filming the damage. It showed one person in military fatigues being carried away from the site of the blast, and body parts scattered on a street.
Activists said that the explosion targeted a bus full of loyalists militiamen who had been brought to the area to quell dissident protests.
“I think this was the regime because it was near a mosque and people go out to protest on Fridays and they want to scare people off,” said Ram.
“But to be honest it could also be the (rebel) Free Syrian Army trying to target security forces or a patrol car. They don't want the regime to think Damascus is their city, that they can be comfortable and immune here,” he said.
Another activist said he was on his way to the Zeen al-Abadeen mosque when he heard the blast.
“It was so loud, and then ambulances came rushing past us ... I could see a few body parts and pieces of flesh on the road, the front of a restaurant looked destroyed. People were screaming.”
The United Nations says security forces have killed at least 9,000 people in the conflict.
Damascus says 2,600 of its security personnel have died at the hands of insurgents who have seized control of pockets of towns and cities across the country of 23 million and who continue to launch guerrilla attacks. — Reuters