AMMAN - A large bomb exploded in an area housing security and army compounds west of Umayyad Square in central Damascus on Thursday, opposition activists said.

Islamist groups Ahfad al-Rasoul and Ansar al-Islam said in a joint statement they planted bombs in a compound belonging to State Security in the area.

Ansar al-Islam claimed responsibility for a bomb attack last month on the army's Chief of Staff headquarters in Umayyad Square, which started a large fire in the building.

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