Foiled Attack in Damascus: Terrorists Try to Storm US Embassy in Syria
The US embassy in Syria came under attack on Tuesday when four men tried to blow it up with a car bomb. The explosives failed to go off and Syrian security guards reportedly killed three of them in a gun battle. No American diplomats were hurt, according to one Syrian official.
Television footage shows a burnt-out car outside the U.S. embassy in Damascus.
The terrorists exchanged heavy gunfire with the Syrian security guards and then, according to the BBC, two of the attackers sought refuge in a nearby building, where they were pursued and shot by the security forces.
Interior Minister General Bassam Abdel Majid speaking on Syrian state television said that, "A terrorist operation targeted the US embassy. Security forces have brought the situation under control." He added that "three terrorists were killed and one was wounded." There are also reports that at least one Syrian security guard died in the attack.
Ambulances and fire trucks rushed to the scene and security forces sealed off the Rawda area, which houses other embassies and security installations.
The attack comes at a time of strained relations between the United States and Syria. Washington withdrew its ambassador from Damascus, following the assassination of the former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005, which the US blamed on Syria. The White House has accused President Bashar al-Assad of supporting terrorism in Iraq, and of backing Hezbollah and Hamas, while Syria has criticised US policies in the region, including the war in Iraq and the ongoing support for Israel.
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