Suicide Bomber Strikes Damascus' Main Judicial Building, Killing Dozens

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Syrian security forces cordon off the area following a reported suicide bombing at the old palace of justice building in Damascus on March 15, 2017.
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Suicide bombers attacked a judicial building and a restaurant in Damascus on Wednesday, killing more than two dozen people as the country marked the sixth anniversary of its civil war.

In one attack, a suicide bomber detonated explosives inside the main judicial building in the capital city.

The Associated Press reports that a man arrived at the gates of the Palace of Justice with grenades and a shotgun. Guards stopped him and seized those weapons, but when they attempted to search him, the man threw himself inside the building and exploded his vest.

That attack, which state media said happened at about 1:20 p.m. local time, seems to have been timed to inflict the greatest number of casualties on the lawyers, judges and others in the building.

"This is a dirty action as people who enter the palace are innocent," Syria's attorney general, Ahmad al-Sayed, told state TV, according to the AP. Al-Sayed, who reportedly was just a few meters from the explosion, said 30 people died and 45 others were wounded.

NPR's Alison Meuse, reporting from Beirut, says the judicial building is where people gather to wait for news about loved ones detained in Syrian prisons.

The second suicide bombing occurred inside a restaurant in the Rabweh district of Damascus. Several people were killed in that attack, though the number of casualties wasn't immediately clear. The AP reports that according to the Ikhbariyeh TV channel, the bomber detonated explosives while being chased by security agents.

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for either attack, which come after two explosions in the capital city on Saturday. Those bombings targeted Shiites visiting the city's holy sites from Iraq; at least 40 people were killed. An alliance of jihadist groups known as Tahrir al-Sham claimed responsibility for Saturday's attacks.

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