Syria says bus blast not terror act
The Syrian interior minister said a blast near a bus parked at a gas station was an accident and not a terror act. Three people died.
Said Mohammad Sammour ruled out a terrorist attack in a statement to state-run media. According to him, the bus driver and two gas station workers died when a tire they were pumping air into went off. Sammour was quoted as saying "there were no explosives involved" in Thursday's accident.
Earlier, eyewitnesses said the blast targeted a busload of Iranian pilgrims causing many casualties. The incident took place in the Sayyida Zainab suburb in southern Damascus. Iranian diplomats told the AP that two Iranians and four Syrians were wounded by the explosion. The area is popular with Iranian and other Shiite pilgrims and is the location of a shrine dedicated to the granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad.
A private Syrian television station, Ad-Dounial TV, said six people were killed in the blast. Iranian state television also reported six killed, including two Iranian bus drivers. It said the explosion occurred while the bus was fueling up at a gas station near the shrine. Police sealed off the area and reporters were banned from reaching the site of the explosion.