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EXPLOSION KILLED 6 IRANIANS IN DAMASCUS

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A bomb targeted at a bus carrying Iranian pilgrims near a major Shiite religious shrine in Damascus, on Thursday 12/03/2009, killed at least six people, witnesses said (see – Secret-War ).

“Body parts are still scattered around the bus,” one of the witnesses told Reuters. Several more people were wounded in the explosion in the Sayeda Zaynab area in Damascus. Sayyeda Zainab is one of the prophet Muhammad’s granddaughters.

Iran’s state television reporter in Damascus said the bus exploded while it was refueling at a petrol station, about 500 meters from the shrine. Syrian security forces deployed in the area, a popular destination for Shiites from Iran and Lebanon, and were investigating the blast.

The bomb attack took place as Saeed Jalili, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, was visiting Damascus for meetings with Syrian officials (see – Bathna-Bombing).

Al-Manar television, run by Lebanon’s Hezbollah Shiite militia, said the blast could have been caused by a gas bottle carried by the pilgrims in their luggage. It is, therefore, not clear whether the explosion was an accident or an deliberate attack.

Syria has been hit by bomb attacks in recent years. A car bomb attack on a security complex near Damascus airport killed 17 people on 09/27/2008 very near to the recent explosion (see – Damascus Blast). That attack was blamed on Lebanon-based Islamist militant group with links to Al QaedaFatah al-Islam .

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