Car bomb kills 17 in Damascus

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The Independent Online

A car bomb exploded in the Syrian capital Damascus this morning, killing 17 civilians and wounding 14, Syrian state television reported.

The car was rigged with some 200 kgs (440 pounds) of explosives, the television said.

"Investigations by the Terrorism Combating Unit are under way to identify the attackers," the television reported official sources as saying.

The blast occurred near a security installation on the airport road at an intersection leading to the Sit Zeinab shrine, popular with Shi'ite pilgrims from Iran and Lebanon.

Security forces cordoned off the area, witnesses said.

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

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