A suicide bomber killed and injured scores of people in the Syrian capital, Damascus, today, according to state media reports.
A "terrorist" exploded himself at a traffic light in the crowded al-Midan area, official news agency SANA reported. Al Jazeera cited reports that the target was a bus carrying security forces.
At least 25 people are said to have been killed, and another 46 injured. According to SANA, the majority of casualties were civilians.
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The Guardian's correspondent in Damascus reported:
Syrian TV is showing bloodstained pavements, damaged cars and corpses being removed from the site of blast.
Body parts are being collected and waved in front of the cameras.
The blast comes two weeks after 44 people died in twin bombings in Damascus, which the Syrian government also blamed on "Al Qaeda" suicide bombers. Its critics, however, accused the authorities of staging the attack in a bid to convince Arab League observers that terrorists are behind months of recent violence.
According to the BBC, the Midan district where today's blast occurred has been the scene of protests against President Bashar al-Assad and his government.
Ammar al-Wawi, a defector from the Syrian Army who now belongs to the armed opposition Syrian Free Army, told the New York Times:
"We’re expecting more of these bombings in the coming days. This regime is seeing to spread chaos in Syria."
Assad's security forces fired on Arab League monitors in the Arbeen suburb of Damascus today, forcing them to withdraw, according to Al Arabiya.
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Below is a video of what Damascus looks like now after the explosion: