MICHAEL JANSEN, IrishTimes.com
SUICIDE BOMBERS set off devices at dawn yesterday in the northwestern rebel stronghold of Idlib city, destroying two security headquarters and nearby apartment blocks.
Syrian state media reported nine dead and more than 100 in- jured, while the London-based Syrian opposition Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at 20, the majority security officers. The explosion took place 200m from the Carlton Hotel, the base of two UN ceasefire monitors, who inspected the blast scene.
The observatory also reported that a car bomb had exploded in a town near Damascus, causing casualties, while other opposition activists said troops shelled the Arbaeen quarter of Homs, killing 26, following a visit by monitors.
Overnight the Syrian central bank was struck by rocket-propelled grenades in the most audacious strike mounted in Damascus since the revolt erupted 13 months ago. Although damage was light, the target was psychologically significant.
The central bank is located on Sabaa Bahrat square at the very heart of the commercial area of the city. Pro-government demonstrations often take place there.
A second attack was staged on a police patrol near a hospital in another central Damascus quarter.
Syrian state television blamed â€œterroristsâ€ for the attacks and said they were a breach of the ceasefire imposed by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.
Suicide and car bomb attacks have been claimed by a previously unknown group, al-Nusra Front to Protect the Levant, said to be an offshoot of al-Qaeda.
The government daily Tishreen said such attacks proved al-Qaeda was operating in Syria and â€œthe Syrian state has full rights to protect its citizens and maintain security and stability.â€ The paper accused the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar of having links with the armed groups and al-Qaeda.
To read more, visit:Â http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2012/0501/1224315406826.html
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