- Obama’s regulatory agenda will cost U.S. economy $143B next year: report
- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
- Russia P.M. Medvedev: No amnesty for political prisoners
- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
- Christmas, by Congress: Members mull a 15-cent tax on trees
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
- World mourns Nelson Mandela and celebrates his life; burial set for Dec. 15
- Bill O’Reilly reminds: Nelson Mandela ‘was a communist’
- John Boehner says GOP should support gay candidates: ‘I do’
- Grass-Whopper: Pan-fried cricket burgers go over big in New York City
Bombing in Syrian capital of Damascus kills 25
DAMASCUS, Syria — A bomb exploded Friday at a busy Damascus intersection, killing 25 people and wounding dozens in the second major attack in the Syrian capital in as many weeks, officials said, vowing to respond to further security threats with an “iron fist.”
The government blamed “terrorists,” saying a suicide bomber had blown himself up in the crowded Midan district. But the country’s opposition demanded an independent investigation, accusing forces loyal to the Syrian regime of being behind the bombing to tarnish a 10-month-old uprising against President Bashar Assad.
“Is there anything worse than these crimes?” said Majida Jomaa, a 30-year-old housewife who ran to the streets after hearing the explosion around 11 a.m. “Is this freedom?”
It was impossible to determine the exact target of the blast, but a police bus was riddled with shrapnel and blood was splattered on its seats, according to Syrian TV video and a government official. Blood also stained the street, which was littered with shattered glass.
The bomber “detonated himself with the aim of killing the largest number of people,” Interior Minister Mohammed Shaar told reporters. State media said most of the dead were civilians but security forces were also among them.
Midan is one of several Damascus neighborhoods that has seen frequent anti-Assad protests on Fridays since the uprising began in March, inspired by the revolutions around the Arab world.
The violence marks a dramatic escalation of bloodshed in Syria as Arab League observers tour the country to investigate Assad’s bloody crackdown on dissent. The monitoring mission will issue its first findings Sunday at a meeting in Cairo.
In a statement, the Interior Ministry vowed to respond to any security threats with an “iron fist.”
Syria’s state media, SANA, put the initial death toll at 25 and more than 60 wounded. The death toll included 10 confirmed dead and the remains of an estimated 15 others whose bodies had yet to be identified.
“I found bodies on the ground, including one of a man who was carrying two boxes of yogurt,” Midan resident Anis Hassan Tinawi, 55, told the AP.
The blast came exactly two weeks after twin bombings targeting intelligence agencies in Damascus killed 44 people. The regime blamed terrorists for those explosions as well.
A Syrian official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to talk publicly to the media, said a smaller bomb exploded Friday in the Damascus suburb of Tal, killing a girl. Security experts dismantled another bomb nearby, he said.
While many of the anti-government protests sweeping the country remain peaceful, the uprising as a whole has become more violent in recent months as frustrated demonstrators take up arms to protect themselves from the steady military assault. An increasing number of army defectors also have launched attacks, killing soldiers and security forces.
The unrest has posed the most serious challenge to the Assad family’s 40-year dynasty. The regime’s crackdown has led to broad worldwide condemnation and sanctions, eviscerated the economy and left Assad an international pariah just as he was trying to open up his country and modernize the economy.
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Activists urge Obama to go rogue, sidestep Congress
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Obama administration issues permits for wind farms to kill more eagles
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- NAPOLITANO: Pope Francis should be saving souls, not pocketbooks
- CARSON: Getting to the top by starting at the bottom
- Obamas call to close Vatican embassy is 'slap in the face' to Roman Catholics
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Interviews and show reviews from the Los Angeles punk scene past and present. Los Angeles has always been rich in punk rock talent since punk rock was born.
Inside the sport of hockey from a scout’s perspective
Classical music and the performing arts: news and reviews you can use.
For moms, dads, kids, tech heads, travelers, kitchen mavens and everyone else on your holiday gift list
White House pets gone wild!