Car bombing kills 24 near Damascus

December 14, 2012 - 6:18:36 am

Damage caused by yesterday’s suicide bombing in front a school at Ras Al Nabaa area in Qatana, western Damascus.

DAMASCUS: At least 24 civilians, including a large number of children, were killed in two separate car bombings southwest of Damascus yesterday, state media reported.

Eight people, mostly women and children, were killed by a car bomb in the poor Sunni town of Jdaidet Artuz, state television reported. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said four civilians were killed in the blast.

Less than eight kilometres away, a similar blast rocked the town of Qatana earlier in the day, leaving 16 people dead, seven of them children, state news agency Sana reported. “This morning, terrorists targeted the residential area of Ras Al Nabaa with a vehicle loaded with explosives, blowing it up in front of the Mikhael Samaan school,” the agency said. It blamed the attack on “terrorists,” the standard regime for rebels.

The Britain-based Observatory said the bomb, outside an army housing complex and near an elementary school, killed 18 people, including two women and seven children. Another 23 people were wounded, most of them women and children, the news agency quoted a medical source as saying.

In a video posted on a pro-government YouTube channel, crowds of men, women and children were seen stood around in shock at the widespread destruction. Schoolbags and exercise books were seen strewn across the pavement among pools of blood and piles of rubble in the footage, which could not be independently verified. Qatana is a working class town 21km outside Damascus. It has a Sunni Muslim majority and a Christian minority, and is under army control.

Meanwhile, the jihadist Al Nusra Front claimed yesterday that two of its men were responsible for a deadly suicide attack on the Syrian interior ministry the day before, via its official Twitter account. “Thank God, we targeted the interior ministry building in Kfar Sousa district in Damascus at 5:30pm on Wednesday, December 12,” the extremist group Tweeted, adding that fighting had erupted inside the ministry.

According to its account, two suicide bombers parked two explosives-laden vehicles outside the building, entered and clashed with security forces before detonating their explosive vests. The two car bombs were detonated remotely, it said.AFP