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Damascus Mosque Bomb Kills 16

March 21, 2013

A blast at a mosque in Damascus on Thursday killed at least 16 people, including a prominent pro-regime Sunni clergyman, an activist group said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it was not clear if the blast at Iman mosque in the government-controlled area of al-Mazraa was caused by a car bomb or a rocket.

It identified the prominent imam as Sheikh Mohamed Saeed al-Bouti, who was vilified by the opposition for his support of President Bashar al-Assad. He was giving a sermon at the time of the blast.

The state-run Syrian news agency SANA said 14 people were killed and 40 were wounded in the blast, which it said was caused by a suicide bomber.

Syrian television showed footage of wounded people and cut limbs on the blood-stained floor inside the mosque.

Dozens of ambulances were seen at the scene, which was sealed off by the military.

Al-Bouti had criticized pro-democracy protests by the Sunni majority against al-Assad, who is a member of the minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shia Islam.

In 1960 he was appointed dean of the Faculty of Religion at Damascus University. He taught at the Damascus University where he chaired the Department of Theology.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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