Blast rocks downtown Damascus

Blast rocks downtown Damascus

Locals report intense gunfire following large explosion

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

Syrian opposition and Damascus residents on Monday night reported a large explosion in the city center followed by intense gunfire.

The Local Coordination Committees of Syria reported that the explosion, apparently caused by a bomb, shook the downtown area and gunfire was heard on Baghdad Street and in the Abbasids neighborhood of central Damascus.

A massive car bombing on Thursday near the ruling Baath party headquarters in Damascus killed at least 53 people and injured dozens.

It was not immediately clear what the target of Monday’s bombing was or whether there were casualties.

State media reported a “terrorist bombing” in Damascus’s al-Qaboun neighborhood, but gave no indication of casualties.

The BBC’s Damascus correspondent reported that the explosion was said to be a car bomb that detonated near Damascus’s Abassyeen Square, and that mortar fire was audible in the capital’s downtown.

The LCCSy confirmed mortars fell near the square, dealing damage to a local store.

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