Syria defence minister killed in blast

Interior minister, Assad brother-in-law wounded

Syrian Defence Minister Daoud Rajha was killed by a bomb which exploded during a meeting of ministers and security officials at a national security building in Damascus on Wednesday, state television said.

 "The Minister of Defence was killed by the terrorist bombing that targeted the national security building," it added.

A "terrorist bomb" which exploded at a national security building in Damascus during a meeting of ministers and security officials wounded several people, some of them critically, state television said.

 Al-Mayadeen, a Lebanon-based news channel, said several senior security officials had been killed in the blast, without giving details.

 Activists in Damascus said by telephone that Republican Guards sealed of the Shami hospital in the capital after ambulances had brought casualties from the site of the explosion.

A suicide bomber who detonated explosives at meeting of ministers and President Bashar al-Assad's top security and military officials on Wednesday was a bodyguard for the president's inner circle, a Syrian security source said.

Syrian state television said that Defence Minister Daoud Rajha was killed in the blast and a security source in Syria said Assad's brother-in-law, Assef Shawkat, was also killed.

Assad's brother-in-law killed in Damascus blast

Assef Shawkat, brother-in-law of President Bashar al-Assad, was killed in a bomb attack which targeted a meeting of Assad's top security and military officials on Wednesday, Hezbollah's al-Manar television and a security source in Syria said. 

The security source told Reuters Shawkat died in a Damascus hospital where he was taken after the attack. State television earlier said Defence Minister Daoud Rajha was also killed in the bombing.

Interior minister, Assad brother-in-law wounded

Syrian Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar and President Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law Assef Shawkat were wounded in a Damascus explosion on Wednesday, Lebanon's Hezbollah-owned al-Manar television said.

 Syrian state television said earlier that a "terrorist bomb" exploded during a meeting of ministers and security officials at a national security building in Damascus, killing Defence Minister Daoud Rajha.

 Western diplomats in the region confirmed that Shawkat, who is also the deputy minister of defence, was wounded in the explosion.  

Syria's intelligence chief Hisham Bekhtyar was wounded in Wednesday's attack on a meeting of top security and military officials and was undergoing surgery, security sources said.
 State television said Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar, who was reported killed in the blast by some Arab television stations, was in a "stable condition". 

2 groups claim responsibility

Two groups claimed responsibility for the explosion in Damascus On Wednesday that killed several top Syrian officials, including the defence minister and the president's brother-in-law.

 Liwa al-Islam, an Islamist rebel group whose name means "The Brigade of Islam", said in a statement on its Facebook page that it "targeted the cell called the crisis control room in the capital of Damascus." 

 A spokesman for the group confirmed the claim by telephone.

 The Free Syrian Army also claimed responsibility for the attack, according to spokesman Qassim Saadedine. "This is the volcano we talked about, we have just started," he said.

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