Iraqi consulate in Damascus hit by mortar shells
A mortar shell hit the Iraqi consulate in the Syrian capital Damascus Thursday, killing an Iraqi woman. The capital has been targeted by bombs and mortar shells in recent months. Here, Syrians inspect the sight of a car bomb attack in Damascus' Tadamun neighbourhood last week. (AFP)
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The Iraqi consulate in Damascus was hit by a mortar shell on Thursday, killing an Iraqi woman and injuring four others, according to witnesses.
Syrian state news agency SANA quoted a source at the consulate as saying the shell had also damaged the building, Reuters reported.
As of Thursday afternoon, it was not clear whether the consulate - which is located in the desirable Al Maliki neighbourhood and in close proximity to the US and Chinese embassies - had been deliberately targeted by the shells, according Reuters.
The UN chemical weapons team arrived in Damascus Wednesday to investigate use of chemical weapons in the conflict. It is not known if they were near the Maliki neighbourhood when the shell hit the consulate.
On Wednesday, Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told the world to stop interfering in the Syrian conflict and called on countries to stop supplying aid to the country, arguing that it could be used to fund terrorism. It is not yet clear whether Zebari's statement had anything to do with Thursday's attack.
A guard at the consulate who spoke to SANA said he had been on duty when the woman was killed. "I helped carry her to the ambulance. She was limp and covered with a coat," he said, according to Reuter's report.
The rebel forces seeking to oust President Bashar Assad have "clung to a crescent of territories around the capital for about a year and a half, " Reuters reported, noting that there have been several mortar and rocket attacks on the capital in the last few months.
On Sunday, a mortar shell hit the Russian embassy compound in central Damascus, wounding three people.