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At least 34 people have been killed and many injured by two car bomb explosions in Jaramana, a south-eastern district of Damascus, Syrian state media report.

State television said “terrorists” were behind the blasts in Jaramana and broadcast pictures showing several charred vehicles and damaged buildings.

The district is predominantly Druze and Christian, two communities which have so far not joined the uprising.

Earlier, there were clashes between security forces and rebels in Jaramana.

There has been fierce fighting in recent days in eastern parts of the countryside around Damascus, known as the Ghouta.


The pro-government TV channel, Addounia, said the car bombs exploded in Jaramana shortly after 06:40 local time.

“Terrorists blew up two car bombs filled with a large amount of explosives in the main square,” the official Sana news agency reported.

State television quoted a source at the interior ministry as saying that 34 people had died and 83 had been seriously injured.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a UK-based activist group, put the death toll at 38.

“Activists and residents in the town said most of the victims were killed when a suicide attacker blew up his car, just after an explosive device was used to blow up another car,” it said.

At least 34 people have been killed and many injured by two car bomb explosions in Jaramana, a south-eastern district of Damascus

At least 34 people have been killed and many injured by two car bomb explosions in Jaramana, a south-eastern district of Damascus

Two smaller bombs also exploded in Jaramana at around the same time as the attack, Sana said, adding that nobody was killed by them.

No group has said it was behind the bombings, and there was no immediately obvious military or government target.

“What do they want from Jaramana? The town brings together people from all over Syria and welcomes everybody,” one resident told the AFP news agency.

The population of Jaramana is mainly Christian and Druze, a heterodox offshoot of Islam. It is also home to many Palestinian and Iraqi refugees.

Few members of Syria’s minority groups have supported the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad. They are fearful for their future if the country’s majority Sunni Muslim community chooses an Islamist leadership to replace decades of secular rule.

Supporters of the government in Jaramana and other Damascus suburbs have set up armed vigilante groups – known as Popular Committees – to prevent attacks such as Wednesday’s. On 29 October, 11 people were killed in a car bombing in Jaramana.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, witnesses told AFP that rebel fighters had captured the pilot of a warplane shot down over Darat Izza, in the northern province of Aleppo. One of the agency’s reporters earlier saw a large explosion as the jet crashed near the town.

Fighter jets earlier bombarded rebel positions in the western Damascus suburb of Darayya, the SOHR said.

The government army also reportedly shelled Zabadani, a town in the mountains north-west of the capital. The Syrian Revolution General Commission, an opposition activist network, said more than 50 shells had fallen on the town in 30 minutes, injuring several people.

The Local Co-ordination Committees (LCC), another activist network, reported that at least 50 people had been killed across the country on Wednesday, most of them in Jaramana.

Activists say more than 40,000 people have been killed since the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad began in March 2011.

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At least 19 people have been killed in two car bomb explosions in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, officials say.

The blasts happened within minutes of each other in the central Shia district of Karrada in the middle of the afternoon rush hour.

The first bomb exploded outside a restaurant and a bakery in al-Andalus Square, and the second outside a court opposite a major police headquarters.

More than 240 people have been killed this month in militant attacks in Iraq.

At least 19 people have been killed in two car bomb explosions in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad

At least 19 people have been killed in two car bomb explosions in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad

Sunni insurgents linked to al-Qaeda appear to have been behind most of the violence, including a wave of bombings and shootings in Baghdad and towns to the north on 23 July which left at least 107 dead.

Clouds of black smoke rose above the centre of the capital on Tuesday after the latest bombings, which also injured more than 50 people.

“We were in a patrol when we heard the first explosion. The second explosion hit another square, and we went to help,” Ahmed Hassan, a policeman, told the Reuters news agency.

“There was a minibus with six dead passengers inside it.”

At least five policemen were also among those killed, officials said.

An interior ministry official told the AFP news agency that the first attack had been carried out by a suicide bomber, while the local TV news channel al-Sharqiya said they had both been suicide bombings.

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Red Cross officials say at least 16 people have been killed in a gun and bomb attack at Bayero University in Nigeria’s northern city of Kano.

Six others were in a serious condition following the attack at Bayero University campus where Christian worshippers were holding a service.

Nigerian police are searching for the gunmen.

No group has said it launched the attack, but the violent Islamist Boko Haram group is active in Kano. It has recently attacked churches.

Nigeria’s central government has struggled to contain the militant group, which operates mainly in the predominantly Muslim north, but has also struck as far south as the capital, Abuja.

Sunday’s attack took place in one of the lecture theatres used as a place of worship by Christians.

A witness told AFP news agency the attackers had first thrown in explosives and fired shots, “causing a stampede among worshippers”.

“They now pursued them, shooting them with guns. They also attacked another service at the sporting complex.”

At least 16 people have been killed in a gun and bomb attack at Bayero University in Nigeria's northern city of Kano

At least 16 people have been killed in a gun and bomb attack at Bayero University in Nigeria's northern city of Kano

Another witness spoke of “pandemonium”, and said he had seen two men shooting indiscriminately.

Mohammed Suleiman, a history lecturer at the university, said security guards had to run for their lives when the violence broke out.

“For over 30 minutes a series of bomb explosions and gun shots took over the old campus, around the academic blocks,” he told Reuters news agency.

A Red Cross spokesman said adults – possibly professors – and three women were among the casualties. Several needed urgent blood transfusions.

Kano state police spokesman Ibrahim Idris said that by the time police arrived, the attackers had “disappeared into the neighborhood”. A manhunt is under way.

But the situation at the university was now calm, according to the Red Cross spokesman.

Boko Haram carried out a bombing in Kano in January that killed more than 180 people, its deadliest attack to date.

Boko Haram

• 2002: Founded in Maiduguri

• July 2009: Hundreds of members killed when Maiduguri police stations stormed; police capture and kill sect leader Mohammed Yusuf

• Dec 2010: Bombed Jos, killing 80 people; blamed for New Year’s Eve attack on Abuja barracks

• Jun-Aug 2011: Bomb attacks on Abuja police HQ and UN building

• Dec 2011: Multiple bomb attacks on Christmas Day kill dozens

• Jan 2012: Wave of violence across north-east Nigeria; Kano bombing kills at least 180