A suicide bomber killed about 25 people and wounded 46 in Damascus on Friday, Syria’s state news agency Sana said, bringing bloodshed to the heart of the Syrian capital for the second time in two weeks.
The blast occurred two days before an Arab League committee was due to discuss an initial report of Arab observers who are checking Syria’s compliance with an Arab plan to halt President Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown on of unrest.
Syrian state television showed body parts, bloodstains and broken glass from the blast in the central Maidan district. Several riot police shields could be seen in a wrecked bus, which was among several damaged vehicles. Sana said 10 people had been killed and body parts of about 15 more had been found.
Footage of Friday’s blast on Syria’s semi-official Addounia TV showed yellow tape stretched around the wrecked bus and cars with smashed windows in a street. People collected body parts on blue plastic sheets amid pools of blood and scattered shoes.
The TV showed crowds of angry locals gathered at the scene, chanting “God, Syria and Bashar only” and “God protect the army” and “With blood and soul we sacrifice for you Bashar”. A woman named Umm Mohammed said those behind the blast were attacking the security forces who protect Syrians.
“They (protesters) say they want freedom, this here is freedom, not those children of saboteurs, God curse them,” she said.
An opposition activist, who asked not to be named, said Islamist militants might have been behind the blast. “I think there are hundreds of these extremists willing to fight the regime and blow themselves up in the name of jihad,” he added.