Armed assailants set off an explosive device at a former United Nations office in the Syrian capital on Tuesday, setting the building on fire, according to reports. At least three vehicles were destroyed, a diplomatic source told Reuters.
Earlier, reports said that two explosions, likely caused by car bombs, and heavy gunfire were heard in Damascus. According to these reports, the explosions took place outside both the British ambassador's house and the Saudi Arabian embassy in Damascus. Reports said that two "terrorists" were killed and a third was captured by Syrian security forces. In addition, a policeman and a passerby were killed.
The incident took place in west Damascus' al-Mazza district.
Syrian television reported that security forces clashed with a "terrorist and sabotage band" in Damascus, after the blasts. An official source confirmed this information, adding the "terrorists" opened fire "randomly". Syrian authorities cut off electricity supplies to the area, reports said.
Syrian security sources later stated that "the competent security authorities confronted the terrorist group and the situation was completely in control." Syrian political analyst Imad Shuaibi told Al-Jazeera that Syrian security forces killed one attacker and the second was taken to a hospital unconscious.
Meanwhile, a British Foreign Office spokeswoman in London said the explosion took place on a street close to the Iranian Ambassador's residence. "It is closer to the Iranian ambassador's residence than it is to our ambassador's residence... (There were no) injuries to UK embassy staff but our staff are in the process of assessing the situation," he said. "There was no damage to the British embassy."
In the meantime, Lebanese security sources in Beirut said one explosion was heard next to the Australian embassy.
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