Car bomb hits Syria's Deir al-Zor, 'nine killed'

State TV: 9 dead, about 100 wounded; opposition group says blast occurred near military and air force intelligence offices.

By REUTERS
May 19, 2012 13:58
1 minute read.
smoke rises in the city of Deir al-Zor [file]

smoke rises in the city of Deir al-Zor [file]_370. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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BEIRUT - A car bomb that rocked the eastern Syrian city of Deir al-Zor on Saturday killed nine people and wounded about 100, the official SANA news agency said.

The report said the bombing was carried out by a suicide bomber and that the dead included guards at a military installation which is near a housing complex.

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An opposition group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the blast was near military intelligence offices and was followed by heavy gunfire.

The group said the bomb went off on a street where a military hospital and air force intelligence offices are also located.

There was no immediate independent verification of the accounts from Syria, which has limited journalist access during a 14-month old uprising against President Bashar Assad.

The uprising, which began with mass protests Assad's forces sought to crush, now features an armed insurgency which the Syrian government describes as a "terrorist" network funded and directed from abroad.

Twin suicide bombers who struck near an intelligence outpost in Damascus on May 10 killed at least 55 people in one of the largest attacks to target government installations.

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Syrian officials call those blasts proof of a "terrorist" campaign against the state, while Assad's opponents accuse him of staging the attacks to validate those claims and justify a bloody crackdown on largely peaceful dissidents.

Syria is five weeks into a peace plan sponsored by the United Nations and Arab League including a UN monitoring mission intended to oversee a ceasefire - yet to take hold - aimed at paving the way for a political path out of bloodshed.

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