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Powerful blast rocks Damascus military justice building: activists

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A large bomb exploded in an area housing security and army compounds west of Umayyad Square in central Damascus on Thursday, opposition activists said, as Syrian forces killed 164 people across the country.

Islamist groups Ahfad al-Rasoul and Ansar al-Islam said in a joint statement they planted bombs in a compound belonging to State Security in the area, according to Reuters.

Ansar al-Islam claimed responsibility for a bomb attack last month on the army’s Chief of Staff headquarters in Umayyad Square, which started a large fire in the building.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the blast in the western Mazzeh district of the capital occurred in front of the military justice building which is near the ministry of higher education.

State television said “a bomb exploded near the ministry of higher education” and that two people were wounded in the “terrorist attack,” according to AFP.

The Syrian capital has been rocked by a string of bomb blasts, including suicide bombings, mostly targeting government buildings, since the March 2011 outbreak of an anti-regime revolt.

In the most spectacular attack, four top security officials, including a brother-in-law of President Bashar al-Assad, were killed in a July 18 bombing of the National Security headquarters claimed by the rebel Free Syrian Army.

On Sept. 26, twin bombings targeted the heavily-guarded armed forces headquarters, in attacks claimed by jihadist groups.