BEIRUT, Lebanon — An apparent suicide bomb exploded in the Midan neighborhood of Damascus on Friday, according Syrian state TV reports cited by The Associated Press.
SANA, the Syrian state news agency, said nine people were killed. (WARNING: Graphic images with original story.) But in a subsequent bulletin, the AP reported that security agents claimed to have collected the remains of 10 people.
The AP reported that the suicide bomber detonated an explosives belt, wounding more than 20, in addition to those killed. Health Minister Nader al-Halqi said the remains of the suspected bomber were among those found at the scene. He said seven of the dead were thought to be police.
Reuters wrote about a Friday blast, though it is unclear whether it is the same explosion. The AP said the suicide bombing was in Midan, south of Damascus' central Old City, but the Reuters reported on an explosion in al-Sinaa, which it says is in southern Damascus.
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Reuters suggested the bomb might have targeted a parking garage where "shabiha," pro-regime militiamen, gathered.
In Syria's 13-month-old uprising, Friday prayers are regularly followed by mass protests.
The large scale bombings in recent months have some US officials suggesting that Al Qaeda militants may have joined in the anti-government revolt, according to CBS News.
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The Syrian government has blamed "terrorists" for the attack. In a statement, the Syrian interior ministry vowed to "strike with an iron fist those who are terrorizing citizens," according to the BBC. Opposition activists said the attack was likely carried out by government forces to tarnish the opposition's image.
Speaking from New Delhi, India, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the Syrian regime's continued repression "has reached an unacceptable, intolerable stage," according to CBS News.
Syrian state TV released this graphic video report from the scene of the blast: