Following Damascus clash: Syrian police raid ''terrorist hideout'', US closes embassy
Fierce firefight between "terrorists" and police in a diplomatic quarter of Damascus killed two attackers, a policeman and a woman, a Syrian Interior Ministry official said.
The attack took place in the Mazza district in west Damascus and centered around a vacated former UN building, which was extensively damaged during the fighting.
The Interior Ministry official told the state-run news agency, SANA, that four gunmen detonated a bomb placed under a car, which damaged an unidentified nearby building, before Syrian security forces surrounded the group and exchanged fire.
The gunmen tried to flee in another car while hurling hand grenades at security forces. As a result of the exchanges, two of the attackers were killed, along with a policemen and a woman in the area.
Quoted by Syrian newspapers on Wednesday, the Interior Ministry official said that "the regional political and security instability has given such criminal acts the opportunity to take place."
Hours after the attack, SANA reported that authorities raided a "terrorist hideout" in the nearby town of Khan al-Sheikh and recovered a variety of weapons belonging to the attackers. The arms, which including rocket propelled grenades, guns and ammunition, were shown on Syrian Television.
Meanwhile, the United States said it would close its embassy in Syria for the day on Wednesday and advised non-essential personnel at its diplomatic mission in Damascus to remain at home.
The US embassy in Damascus said it had no information about the assailants or their intended targets but said that private US citizens in the Syrian capital should also remain inside until the situation became clear, reports said on Wednesday. (Albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)