Syrian premier escapes bomb attack in Damascus

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DAMASCUS, Syria — Syria’s prime minister escaped a brazen assassination attempt today when a bomb exploded near his convoy in Damascus, state media reported, in the latest attack to target a top official in President Bashar Assad’s regime.

Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi was not hurt in the explosion in the capital’s western neighborhood of Mazzeh, state TV said. The state news agency said several people were killed in the blast, while the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights activist group said the explosion killed at least five, including two of al-Halqi’s bodyguards and one of the drivers in his convoy.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for today’s attack.

Bombings like the one that struck the prime minister’s convoy have been a trademark of Islamic radicals fighting in the rebel ranks, raising concerns about the extremists’ role in Syria’s civil war.

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