Bombings rock Damascus, brother of parliament speaker killed

Tue Nov 6, 2012 11:35pm GMT

By Mohammed Abbas and Khaled Yacoub Oweis

JEDDAH/AMMAN (Reuters) - Bombs exploded in three districts of the Syrian capital Damascus on Tuesday, killing and wounding dozens, and gunmen shot dead the brother of the parliament speaker in the latest rebel attack on a figure associated with the ruling elite.

The opposition said at least 100 more people were killed elsewhere in the civil war, and Britain suggested offering President Bashar al-Assad immunity from prosecution as a way of persuading him to leave power.

"Anything, anything, to get that man out of the country and to have a safe transition in Syria," British Prime Minister David Cameron told Al Arabiya news network in Abu Dhabi before flying on to Saudi Arabia.

Syrian state media said at least 10 people were killed and 30 wounded by an explosion in the Hai al-Wuroud district in the northwest of the capital.

The hilltop neighbourhood is situated near a barracks and housing for elite army units, and is home to members of Assad's Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam. Syria's rebellion in is drawn mainly from the Sunni Muslim majority.

Opposition activists said three explosions were heard in Hai al-Wuroud and at least 15 people killed. A car bomb also detonated near a shopping mall in the mixed neighbourhood of Ibn al-Nafis, killing and injuring several people, they said.

On Tuesday evening, activists reported another car bombing, this time near a mosque in the Sunni working-class district of al-Qadam in south Damascus, causing dozens more casualties. Buildings were damaged and bodies buried under debris that clogged the streets, the activists told Reuters.

"Lots of people were hit inside their apartments. Rescue efforts are hampered because electricity was cut off right after the explosion," said Abu Hamza al-Shami.   Continued...

A crowd gathers at the site of an explosion in Hai al-Wuroud, near Damascus November 6, 2012, in this handout photograph released by Syria's national news agency SANA. REUTERS/SANA/Handout
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