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Russian Embassy in Syria unharmed in nearby shelling

National sports hero dies in separate mortar attack in Damascus

Exploding mortar shells fill the sky with black smoke in Damascus, Syria, in September 2013. (photo credit: AP/United media office of Arbeen)
Exploding mortar shells fill the sky with black smoke in Damascus, Syria, in September 2013. (photo credit: AP/United media office of Arbeen)

Mortar shells were fired Wednesday into the Damascus district where the Russian Embassy is located. There were no injuries or damage reported at the embassy.

“We didn’t have anything, either nearby or on our territory,” an embassy employee told the Russian media outlet Interfax.

Syrian state media said Wednesday that a member of the national taekwondo team had been killed in a mortar attack, also in the capital.

State news agency SANA said 27-year-old Mohammed Ali Neimeh died when a mortar shell hit a sports hall. Neimeh had been training for an upcoming Islamic Solidarity Tournament in Indonesia this week, SANA said.

Neimeh has been a member of the national team since 2006. While he has never qualified for the Olympics, SANA said he was a Syrian sporting hero for winning medals at international tournaments, including a bronze in the 2010 West Asian Championships.

Syrian rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad have frequently fired mortars on residential districts of Damascus to disrupt life in the capital that the regime tries hard to portray as detached from the bloody civil war that has raged for more than two years.

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