Syrians say suicide bomber thwarted


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BEIRUT -- A day after twin bombings rocked the Syrian capital, Damascus, killing dozens of people, state media said a suicide bomber was thwarted in Aleppo on Friday, although two smaller bombs exploded, killing one person.

A man driving a stolen van struck two police officers in the Al Shaar neighborhood, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency, leading law enforcement officials to shoot him. He died before he was able to detonate a suicide belt, state TV said.


State media said the man intended to drive into the crowded neighborhood to blow up himself and the van, which was loaded with more than 3,000 pounds of explosives inside five tanks.

State TV showed two United Nations monitors visiting the site and inspecting the minibus while the body of the driver was still slumped in the front seat.

At Aleppo’s Baath Party headquarters, meanwhile, an engineer was killed when an explosive device he was attempting to disarm detonated, state media reported.

In the mostly anti-government neighborhood of Seif al Dawle, a small bomb exploded in the street and caused only property damage.

In the Salahudin neighborhood, security forces opened fire on a protest, killing one man, activists said.

The Syrian government blamed terrorist groups with foreign support for Thursday’s Damascus bombings that killed 55 people and left more than 370 injured. On Friday, a leading opposition member blamed Al Qaeda, which he accused of working with the regime.

As the number of bombings in Syria has increased, there is a fear that Iraq-style suicide attacks could become common.


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-- Times staff writer