Damascus suicide bombings shake Syria

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The Independent Online

The first large-scale suicide bombings of the Arab Spring killed more than 40 people in Damascus yesterday, sparking fears that the nine-month-old Syrian uprising could reach a nadir of chaos and violence.

The two attacks, which came shortly after the first Arab observers arrived in the country as part of a regional plan to calm the crisis, left carnage in their wake. Severed limbs and dead bodies were sprawled amid parked cars that had been set on fire. About 150 people were injured by the explosions outside the headquarters of the General Intelligence Agency and Military Intelligence in the Syrian capital's upscale Kafar Sousah district.

Syrian state television reported that the casualties included a large number of civilians, among them women and children. The government of President Bashar al-Assad blamed the suicide attacks on al-Qa'ida, although many activists questioned that theory.