Vatican Embassy in Syria hit by mortar fire

No casualties reported in incident; not clear if embassy deliberately targeted; at least eighth time embassy hit since July.

November 5, 2013 13:38
Fire seen rising above Damascus [file]

Fire seen rising above Damascus 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican Embassy in Damascus was hit by mortar fire on Tuesday but there were no casualties, a Vatican spokesman said.

It was not clear if the embassy was deliberately targeted. It is located in the wealthy Maliki area of the Syrian capital, where there are several embassies as well as the residences of government and security officials.

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"There was damage but no one was injured. The mortar hit a wing of the embassy that is currently not being used," said Father Ciro Benedettini said from the Vatican City.

An official at the embassy said the mortar had damaged part of the roof and left broken glass inside the building.

"It was very strong and noisy. We stayed inside and we were very afraid," Monsignor Giorgio Chazza told Reuters in Beirut.

The embassy, which is still operating in the embattled city, had been hit by eight to ten times by mortar bombs since July, he said.

Rebels fighting to topple the government of President Bashar Assad regularly launch mortar fire at government-held areas inside Damascus.

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