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Suicide bomber strikes Damascus justice building, killing 30

Published: Updated:

A suicide bomber detonated his explosives’ vest inside the main judicial building in the Syrian capital on Wednesday, killing at least 30 people and wounding many others, state media said.

The official news agency, SANA, said another suicide explosion struck a restaurant in Rabweh district of Damascus, leading to an unknown number of casualties.

The bombing inside the Justice Palace, located near the famous and crowded Hamidiyeh market in Damascus, was the latest in a spate of deadly explosions and suicide attacks targeting government-controlled areas in Syria and its capital.

According to Damascus police chief Mohammad Kheir Ismail, the Justice Palace attacker struck in the early afternoon - at 1.20 p.m. A man wearing a military uniform and carrying a shotgun and grenades arrived at the entrance to the palace, the police chief told state TV.

The guards stopped the man, took away his arms and asked to search him. At that point, the man hurled himself inside the building and detonated his explosives, the chief said.

Syria’s attorney general, Ahmad al-Sayed, who was in the building just a few meters away from the explosion, confirmed that account to state TV, saying that when the security guards tried to arrest the man, he threw himself inside the palace and blew himself up. He said 30 people were killed and 45 others wounded.

“This is a dirty action as people who enter the palace are innocent,” he said, noting that the timing of the explosion was planned to kill the largest number of lawyers, judges and other people who were there at the time.

Ambulances rushed to the scene to transfer casualties to hospital.

In the second attack, in Rabweh district, SANA said a suicide bomber blew himself up in a restaurant, killing several people. The Ikhbariyeh TV channel said the attacker was being chased by security agents when he rushed into a restaurant and detonated his explosives’ vest. There was no immediate claim for that attack either.

Wednesday’s bombings followed twin attacks on Saturday near holy shrines frequented by Shiites in Damascus that killed at least 40 people.