Damascus bomb kills at least 11

BEIRUT Mon Nov 5, 2012 9:42pm IST

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - A bomb attack in a western district of Damascus killed 11 people and wounded dozens more, including children, on Monday, Syrian state media reported.

The state television report gave no further details. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based watchdog, said at least 11 people had been killed and 30 wounded by a car bomb in the area known as "Mezzeh 86".

The district, situated on a hilltop near the highway to Lebanon, is mostly inhabited by members of President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite minority, a sect of Shi'ite Islam that has dominated power in majority Sunni Muslim Syria since the 1960s.

Seif al-Sham, an Islamist rebel unit, claimed responsibility for the attack, which targeted what it described as a meeting point for the army and police, as well as militia loyal to Assad and known as shabbiha (ghosts).

"The operation was in response to the savage actions of the regime," a statement by the group said.

Elsewhere on Monday, a suicide bomber killed at least 50 members of the Syrian security forces and Assad loyalists in an attack in the Hama province, the Observatory said, and at least 20 rebel fighters were killed in an air strike in Idlib province, near the northwestern border with Turkey. (Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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