Explosion in Damascus targets top Syrian officials | News | DW | 18.07.2012
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Explosion in Damascus targets top Syrian officials

Syria's defense minister has reportedly been killed in a suicide bombing in Damascus. President Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law and others were present in the government building at the time of the blast.

Syria's defense minister General Daoud Rajha was killed on Wednesday according to Syrian state television, which reported a suicide bombing targeting the National Security headquarters in central Damascus.

Several high profile members of the Syrian administration were present at the building, initial reports from the region offered conflicting information on those injured.

Lebanon's Hezbollah-owned al-Manar television station reported that Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar and President Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law, Assef Shawkat, were injured in the explosion. Reuters meanwhile, citing a Syrian security source, said that Assad's brother-in-law had died from his injuries.

The mid-morning attack targeted a meeting of ministers and security officials in the high security Rawda district in the capital. This comes as battles rage between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and the opposition Free Syrian Army.

Raijha was the country's defence minister, deputy army chief and deputy head of the Council of Ministers.

jlw/msh (AFP, Reuters)