Syrian Prime Minister Wael Nader Al-Halqi has survived an apparent assassination attempt in the capital Damascus.
An explosion in the upscale neighborhood of Mazzeh — where according to The New York Times many senior officials live — appears to be the latest attack targeting a top official in President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
Halqi has represented Assad in a diplomatic campaign to back the regime against Syrian rebels waging a civil war.
The Times noted that he said of the US in a recent interview:
"We are partners in fighting terrorism."
The attack on Halqi's convoy comes a week after Ali Balan, the government’s chief coordinator of emergency aid distribution, was killed by gunmen with silencer-equipped guns at a restaurant in the same neighborhood.
And in July, an explosion at a security headquarters killed several key aides to Assad.
Al Jazeera quoted state television as saying:
"The terrorist explosion in al-Mazzeh was an attempt to target the convoy of the prime minister. Doctor Wael al-Halqi is well and not hurt at all."
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based activist group, said Halqi's bodyguard had been killed.
However, Halqi himself conducted a brief interview with state television in which he appeared shaken but assured the public he was unhurt.
It was unclear whether the device was planted or part of a suicide bombing, the Associated Press reported. The AP cited an unnamed Syrian official as saying that the explosion was caused by a bomb placed underneath a parked car in the area.
An earlier report said it had been a suicide attack.