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55 killed in Syria blasts

Heavily damaged cars and pickup trucks stood smoldering in the area.

Two suicide blasts ripped through the Syrian capital on Thursday,killing 55 people and leaving scenes of carnage in the deadliest bombing attack since the country’s uprising began 14 months ago,the Interior Ministry said.

An Associated Press reporter at the scene said paramedics wearing rubber gloves were collecting human remains from the pavement after the explosions. Heavily damaged cars and pickup trucks stood smoldering in the area. The blasts ripped the facade off a military intelligence building,which appeared to be the target.

More than 370 people were also wounded in the attack,the Interior Ministry said. The ministry said the explosives weighed more than 1,000 kilograms.

Central Damascus is under President Bashar Assad’s control,but has been struck by several attacks,often targeting security installations or convoys. There was no claim of responsibility for Thursday’s blasts.


Maj Gen Robert Mood,the Norwegian head of the UN’s cease-fire monitors in the country,toured the site Thursday and said the Syrian people did not deserve this “terrible violence.’’

The relentless violence has brought a cease-fire plan brokered by special envoy Kofi Annan to the brink of collapse. On Thursday,Annan appealed for calm and an end to bloodshed.

Thursday’s explosions went off seconds apart,at about 7:50 am during the morning rush hour. Witnesses said the first explosion attracted curious passers-by. Seconds later,the second,far larger explosion went off,causing massive damage.