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31 killed in double suicide attack in Syrian capital Damascus

The first bomber detonated his explosives’ vest inside the main judicial building of the justice palace, while the second targeted a restaurant

world Updated: Mar 15, 2017 20:18 IST
The blast follows twin attacks on Saturday that killed over 50 Shia pilgrims in Damascus.(Reuters File)

Two suicide bomb attacks killed at least 31 people and wounded dozens more in Damascus on Wednesday, state media reported, in the second such spate of bombings in the Syrian capital in five days.

The first suicide bomber targeted the Palace of Justice, the main courthouse in central Damascus near the Old City. Justice Minister Najem al-Ahmad told reporters the initial death toll was 31, mostly civilians.

The second suicide blast struck a restaurant in the al-Rabweh area of Damascus to the west of the first attack causing several casualties, state media reported.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blasts.

Syrian state television broadcast footage from inside the courthouse showing blood splattered on a floor littered with papers, a shoe and broken tiles and stones. Images from a hospital showed a man in a suit on a stretcher with blood on his clothes.

The explosion hit the courthouse “at a time when the area is crowded” with lawyers, judges and civilians, harming a large number of people, Ahmed al-Sayyid, a senior state legal official told state-run al-Ikhbariya TV.

He later added that 45 people had been wounded.

“The attack came as a retaliation against the latest victories of the Syrian army and the political victories in Geneva and Astana,” Ahmad said, referring to recent peace talks in Switzerland and Kazakhstan.

State media reported that the second bomber had entered the restaurant and detonated the device after having been chased by security forces.

The blast follows twin attacks on Saturday that killed over 50 Shia pilgrims in Damascus. That attack was claimed by the Syria’s al-Qaida branch formerly known as the Nusra Front.

First Published: Mar 15, 2017 17:29 IST