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11 hurt by bomb explosion in Damascus

By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times –

BEIRUT — A bomb exploded Sunday near the offices of a trade union in central Damascus, Syria, injuring 11 people, state media reported.

The official Syrian news service blamed “terrorists,” its usual label for armed rebels seeking the overthrow of President Bashar Assad.

The target of the attack was not immediately clear. The district where the bomb exploded includes a hotel and several security installations.

The attack again seemed to demonstrate rebels’ ability to strike at the heart of the Syrian capital, despite heavy security and checkpoints throughout Damascus.

Rebels appear to be stepping up bomb attacks in and around the Syrian capital, where a number of car bombs and other blasts have exploded in recent weeks. Syrian troops have pushed many armed rebels out of city neighborhoods and into outlying districts.

The apparent opposition bombing campaign has dramatized the capital’s vulnerability and rebels’ skill at piercing the security cordon. But the bombs have also unnerved capital residents and killed and injured many civilians. The attacks run the risk of alienating Syrians and buttressing Assad’s argument that his foes are foreign-backed “terrorists,” not democracy-seeking revolutionaries.

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