Damascus suicide bombings kill 39, say activists (Third Lead)

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Damascus, March 15 (IANS) At least 39 persons were killed when a suicide bomber detonated his explosives-strapped vest inside the old Justice Palace building in Syrian capital of Damascus on Wednesday, according to a British war monitor.

The Syrian Observatory on Human Rights said that among the fatalities were at least 24 civilians, seven guards and police officers, with the identity of the rest still unknown, reported Efe news.

Soon after, the Syrian state media reported a second suicide bomber detonated a device at a restaurant in Rabweh, in western Damascus. No more details were given by the state media about the toll in the second blast.

The head of the capital’s police department, Lt. Gen. Mohamed Kheir Ismail, told Efe that the bomber in the first attack was dressed in a military uniform and was carrying a machine gun and a grenade.

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When the attacker was stopped at the checkpoint by the entrance of the courthouse, he ran, entered the lobby and detonated himself, Ismail said.

The police official said that the blast happened during rush hour in the courthouse and at least 120 persons were injured.

The attacks come on the sixth anniversary of the start of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

Wednesday’s attacks follow twin suicide bombings in the capital last week, which killed at least 74 persons.



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