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At least nine killed as suicide car bomb hits Syria’s Deir Ezzor: State TV

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A suicide bomber detonated an explosives-laden car outside security headquarters in Syria’s biggest eastern city of Deir Ezzor on Saturday, killing nine people and wounding 100, Syrian state TV reprted.

“A car bomb exploded in the Ghazi Ayyash neighborhood of Deir Ezzor,” said the report, adding the blast was carried out by a “terrorist suicide bomber” and caused widespread “material damage.”

The local branch of the Syrian Coordination Committees reported that the blast occurred inside a security building housing detained protesters.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdisi said on Twitter that there were seven “martyrs” and 100 injured in a “suicide explosion,” which involved 500 kilos (1,100 pounds) of explosives).

However, state news agency SANA spoke of a “booby-trapped car.”

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 al-Assad.

There was no claim of responsibility for the bombing but, as typically happens in such cases, the opposition blamed it on Assad’s regime.

“The Syrian National Council places on the Syrian regime the entire responsibility... for the criminal bombings in several Syrian cities, including the one today in Deir Ezzor,” the exile group said in a statement.

“These repetitive blasts are part of the regime’s plan to reap chaos and trouble, given that it failed to repress the revolution of the Syrian people.”

The blast occurred on a road housing a military and air force intelligence headquarters and a military hospital, said the Observatory.

The attack was the first of its kind in Deir Ezzor since an anti-regime uprising broke out in Syria in March last year.

It came a day after Syrian troops foiled a would-be car bombing in the same city, which is about 110 kilometers (70 miles) upstream from the Iraqi border on the Euphrates River.

Elsewhere, a rocket slammed into ruling Baath party offices in northern Aleppo province on Saturday, a monitoring group said, a day after unprecedented anti-regime protests in the provincial capital of the same name.

In Jabal Azzawya, in the flashpoint northwestern province of Idlib, clashes caused an unknown number of casualties, the Britain-based watchdog said, after a series of explosions were heard in the restive area.

On the outskirts of Sarmada town, also in Idlib province, clashes broke out between regime troops and armed rebels, the monitoring group added.

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

What started out as a popular uprising has over time developed into an increasingly militarized revolt, after President Bashar al-Assad’s regime used force to crack down on peaceful protesters across the country.

According to the Observatory, more than 12,000 people have been killed in Syria since the revolt broke out in March last year, most of them civilians.