28 Sep 2008

Car bomb kills 17 near Damascus shrine

7:25 am on 28 September 2008

At least 17 people have been killed after a car bomb exploded in the Syrian capital of Damascus, state television reported.

All the dead are reported to be civilians.

The attack happened near buildings used by the Syrian security forces, close to an intersection leading to a Shia Muslim shrine popular with pilgrims from Iran, Iraq and Lebanon.

The car was believed to have been rigged with 200kg of explosives. Fourteen people have also been wounded.

Security forces cordoned off the area, but witnesses said the security centre's main building appeared to have suffered little damage.

It was the first explosion in Syria since the car bomb assassination of Imad Moughniyah, military commander of the Islamist group Hezbollah, in February.

In August, a senior security officer was killed at a beach resort near the port city of Tartous in mysterious circumstances, shaking the tightly controlled country.