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Photo: AFP
Explosion kills 17
Photo: AFP
Car rigged with 200 kg of explosives
Photo: AFP
Syria hints 'terrorists' came from abroad
State-owned media hints car bomb that killed 17 civilians on Saturday was rigged by foreign agents, perhaps 'parties angered by Syria's victorious return to international arena after the desperate attempts to isolate, besiege and punish it'

Syria on Sunday hinted at foreign involvement in a deadly weekend car bombing, with its state-run media saying the objective was to undermine Damascus' efforts to emerge from years of international isolation.

 

Saturday's 200 kilogram car bomb near a Syrian security complex on the southern outskirts of the capital killed 17 people. It was the biggest – and deadliest – attack to occur in the country since the 1980s when authorities fought an uprising by Muslim militants.

 

No one has claimed responsibility for the explosion, which also injured 14 people. Syrian officials have so far avoided accusing any group, saying only it was a "terrorist act."

 

The government-owned daily Al-Thawra claimed in an editorial Sunday that recent attacks in Syria were planned outside the country, but did not mention any names.

 

However, the comment came a week after Syria massed thousands of troops north of its borders with neighboring Lebanon. Syria says the deployment is meant to curb smuggling, but President Bashar Assad has warned recently that "extremist forces" were operating in northern Lebanon and destabilizing his country.

 

He was apparently referring to Sunni militants who have clashed for months with pro-Syrian gunmen in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli.

 

Another government newspaper, Tishrin, said the bombing was carried out by some parties it said were angered by Syria's "victorious return to the international arena after the desperate attempts to isolate,
besiege and punish it."

 

The attack was condemned by the US, Europe, and many Arab states. Lebanese President Michel Suleiman and Prime Minister Fouad Siniora issued a statement calling the crime "despicable and unacceptable."

 

Siniora referred to the blast as a "terror crime" and said such incidents must be rejected, particularly when they take place in an Arab capital.

 


First published: 09.28.08, 19:17
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