POSTED: 2:00 a.m. HST, Apr 8, 2013
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — A car bomb rocked a busy residential and commercial district in central Damascus Monday, killing at least 10 people and causing heavy material damage, a Syrian government official said.
The blast, which state-run Syrian TV described as a terrorist suicide bombing, went off near the Sabaa Bahrat Square, one of the capital's biggest roundabouts. The Syrian Central Bank, a mosque and a school are located nearby.
A massive cloud of black smoke rose from the area as ambulances rushed to the scene.
Monday's blast is the latest in a series of car bombs and suicide bombings to hit the Syrian capital. The last such explosion in central Damascus was on Feb. 22, when a suicide car bombing near the ruling Baath Party headquarters killed 53 people and wounded more than 200, according to state media.
Anti-regime activists at the time put the death toll at 61, which would make it the deadliest bombing in the capital in the two-year Syrian civil war.
TV images on Monday showed thick black smoke billowing in a wide street with several cars on fire. At least six bodies were seen lying in the street. Paramedics were seen carrying on a stretcher a young woman wearing a jeans skirt, her face bloodied, into an ambulance.
Shaken teenage students holding their backpacks were seen walking away. The TV said the blast occurred near the Bukhari School.
The Syrian government official told The Associated Press that 10 people were killed. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give official statements to the media.