DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — A suicide bomber detonated his explosives’ vest inside the main judicial building in the Syrian capital on Wednesday, killing at least 30 people and wounding many others, state media said.
The official news agency, SANA, said another suicide explosion struck a restaurant in Rabweh district of Damascus, leading to an identified number of casualties.
The bombing inside the Justice Palace, located near the famous and crowded Hamidiyeh market in Damascus, was the latest in a spate of deadly explosions and suicide attacks targeting government-controlled areas in Syria and its capital.
It came as Syrians mark the sixth anniversary of the country’s bitter civil war, which has killed more than 400,000 people and displaced millions of others. The conflict began in March 2011 as a popular uprising against President Bashar Assad’s rule but quickly descended into a full-blown civil war. The chaos allowed al Qaeda and later the Islamic State group to gain a foothold in the war-torn nation.
The recent attacks have struck at highly symbolic targets, and may mark the start of a new insurgency campaign by al Qaeda-linked militants to try and counter recent military advances by Assad’s forces, backed by Russia and Iran.
According to Damascus police chief Mohammad Kheir Ismail, the Justice Palace attacker struck in the early afternoon at 1.20 p.m. A man wearing a military uniform and carrying a shotgun and grenades arrived at the entrance to the palace, the police chief told state TV.