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    Second Bombing Averted in Damascus

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    A Syrian bomb squad on Thursday defused a car bomb in central Damascus that was supposed to have been detonated next to the scene of a powerful explosion that killed at least 40 people earlier in the day, an eyewitness told a RIA Novosti correspondent.

    DAMASCUS, February 21 (RIA Novosti) - A Syrian bomb squad on Thursday defused a car bomb in central Damascus that was supposed to have been detonated next to the scene of a powerful explosion that killed at least 40 people earlier in the day, an eyewitness told a RIA Novosti correspondent.

    The eyewitness said he had spotted a parked minibus not far from the scene with a man sitting behind the wheel and ran to help him.

    “As an ordinary Syrian I rushed to help and pulled the driver out. He was wearing a suicide belt,” the witness said.

    Security officers detained the purported terrorist and bomb disposal experts removed about one ton of explosives from the bus.

    A representative of Syrian security agencies confirmed this report to RIA Novosti, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    Syrian state television said at least 53 people were killed and 237 injured when a car exploded at a checkpoint between the Russian Embassy and the central headquarters of the ruling Baath party.

    Syria's main opposition group, the National Coalition, said it was not responsible for the attack.

     

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