Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi survived an assassination attempt on his convoy in Damascus, Syrian state-run TV reported on Monday.

Al-Jazeera reported that Halqi’s bodyguard and five others were killed in the car bombing, and at least 20 were injured. Israel Radio reported that al-Halqi’s driver and another guard were seriously injured.

Al-Halqi was unhurt in the attack in Damascus’s western neighborhood of Mazzeh, state TV said. The TV showed footage of heavily damaged cars and debris in the area of the blast as firefighters fought to extinguish a large blaze caused by the explosion.

Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi in 2012. (photo credit: image capture from YouTube video uploaded by euronewses)

Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi in 2012. (photo credit: image capture from YouTube video uploaded by euronewses)

The blast struck in the capital’s western neighborhood of Mazzeh. A video uploaded by the Local Coordination Committees of Syria showed a large plume of black smoke rising over the capital following the attack.

A Syrian government official told The Associated Press that an improvised explosive device was placed under a car that was parked in the area and was detonated as al-Halqi’s car drove by.

The government-run Al-Ikhbariya station said al-Halqi went into a meeting with an economic committee straight after the bombing.

Damascus has been hit by a string of explosions in recent months that has left hundreds of people dead or wounded. Last July, a rebel attack on the Syrian national security building in Damascus during a meeting of Cabinet ministers killed the defense minister and his deputy, who was President Bashar Assad’s brother-in-law. That attack also wounded the interior minister.

The Syrian government says Muslim extremists trying to overthrow President Bashar Assad are to blame for the attacks.

Syria’s conflict started with largely peaceful protests against Assad’s regime in March 2011 but eventually turned into civil war. The United Nations says that more than 70,000 people have been killed in the conflict so far.