Syrian prime minister survives assassination attempt

This photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian fire fighters extinguishing burning cars after a car bomb exploded in the capital's western neighborhood of Mazzeh, in Damascus, Syria on Monday, April. 29, 2013. (SANA/AP)

Syrian Prime Minister Wael Nader al-Halqi escaped death after a car bomb exploded next to his car in Damascus Monday, in what appears to be an assassination attempt.

According to a report in The New York Times, al-Halqi was travelling through the distict of Mezzeh, an upscale neighbourhood where many government officials live, when the bomb went off.

A government official told The Associated Press the the bomb was placed under a parked car and it detonated when al-Halqi’s car drove past.

The Associated press says that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has reports that the prime minister’s body guard was killed in the bombing. There are also reports of other casualties, says BBC News.

Reports conflicted as to whether al-Halqi had been hurt, or not, but state news played a short interview with al-Halqi that it said was taken after the attack. “He appears assured but somewhat shaken in the interview, in which he talks about a meeting he has just attended on the economy,” reports BBC News.

This is the latest attempt to kill a member of President Bashar Assad’s regime.

Ali Balan, the government’s chief co-ordinator of emergency aid distribution to civilians, was killed by a gunman while at a restaurant in the same neighbourhood less than two weeks ago.

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