Brother of Syrian parliament speaker assassinated

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BEIRUT — Gunmen killed the brother of Syria’s parliament speaker in a hail of bullets as he drove to work in Damascus today, the state news agency said, as the international envoy for Syria warned the country could become another Somalia.

Mohammed Osama Laham, the brother of Parliament Speaker Jihad Laham, became the latest victim of a wave of assassinations targeting Syrian officials, army officers and other prominent supporters of President Bashar Assad’s regime. Four of the leader’s top security officials were killed in a rebel bombing on the state security headquarters in Damascus in July.

Laham was gunned down in the Damascus neighborhood of Midan, the SANA state news agency said.

The killing came a day after some of the most intense fighting in Damascus in months as rebels wage a civil war to unseat Assad. The government and activists said a series of explosions that went off in an area on the northwestern edge of Damascus caused multiple casualties this evening. It was not clear whether they were car bombs or what the target was.

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