A tire explosion, not a terrorist attack, caused a blast that ripped through an Iranian bus in the Syrian capital of Damascus on Thursday, the Syrian interior minister said.
"The bus entered a petrol station to have one of its tires inflated and the tire exploded," Said Sammour said in a statement to state-run Syrian TV, adding that the bus driver and two gas station workers were killed when a tire they were pumping air into exploded.
Hezbollah's al-Manar television station reported that security apparatus investigating the blast did not find any traces of explosives at the scene
"Body parts are still scattered around the bus," one of the witnesses told Reuters. Several more people were wounded in the explosion in the Sayyeda Zainab area in Damascus.
The witnesses said the rear part of the bus was ripped opened. Buildings around the scene of the blast sustained damage and glass from broken windows littered the street.
One doctor in a nearby hospital said the hospital had an undisclosed number of people being treated from wounds.
The blast took place as Saeed Jalili, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, was visiting Damascus for meetings with Syrian officials.
Syrian security forces deployed in the area, a popular destination for Shiites from Iran and Lebanon, and were investigating the blast. There was no official word on the explosion from the authorities.
The news agencies contributed to this report