Suicide Bombing Kills Syrian Defense Minister

Posted July 18th, 2012 at 10:00 am (UTC-5)
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Syrian state television says a bomber has struck the National Security building in Damascus, killing Defense Minister Daoud Rajha and Deputy Defense Minister Assef Shawkat, brother-in-law to President Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian General Hassan Turkmani, a former defense minister, is also reported to have died of injuries sustained in Wednesday's bombing.

The rebel Free Syrian Army has claimed responsibility for the attack, which seriously wounded several other officials participating in a high-level meeting. Reuters news agency is reporting that a second rebel group, Liwa al-Islam — whose name means “The Brigade of Islam” — is also claiming responsibility.

The Syrian military has vowed to “continue fighting terrorism” and has named Armed Forces Chief of Staff Fahed al- Jasem el-Freij as the new defense minister.