At least 25 killed in Damascus suicide blast

AN EXPLOSION ripped through a busy intersection in the Syrian capital Damascus killing up to 25 people in what Syrian authorities said was the second suicide attack in as many weeks.

The bombings mark a dramatic escalation of bloodshed as Arab League observers tour the country to investigate President Bashar Assad’s bloody crackdown on a popular revolt.

Interior Minister Mohammed Shaar said a suicide bomber “detonated himself with the aim of killing the largest number of people”.

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Syrian television showed residents and paramedics carrying human remains, holding them up for the camera. The explosion damaged a nearby police station and left blood and flesh in the streets, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene. Police cordoned off the area.

Syria’s state media, SANA, said the initial death toll is 25 people.

The opposition has questioned the government’s allegations that terrorists are behind the attacks. They again suggsted the regime itself could have been behind the violence to try to show the observers that it is a victim in the country’s upheaval.

The government has long contended that the turmoil in Syria this year is not an uprising but the work of terrorists and foreign-backed armed gangs.

The opposition has produced no evidence backing its accusations, and no one but Syrian authorities have access to investigate the blasts.

Arab League Deputy Secretary-General Ahmed bin Helli condemned the attack, saying that “when there are explosions of this nature, this is a dangerous development”.