Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi has escaped an assassination attempt, surviving a car bomb attack against his convoy in Mazzeh district in Damascus, in the latest attack on top members of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
“A terrorist explosion rocked Mazzeh district near Ibn Rushed park in Damascus on Monday causing casualties and material damage,” SANA reported.
An official source told SANA reporter that the terrorist explosion targeted the convoy of Prime Minister, Dr. Wael al-Halqi, stressing that the Premier is safe and he survived the explosion .
State television showed footage of heavily damaged cars and debris in the area of the blast.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based activist group, said one of Halqi’s bodyguards was killed, while another bodyguard and his driver were badly injured.
Medical sources said that 5 civilians were killed by the blast.
Meanwhile, state television carried a brief interview with Halqi, saying that it was filmed after the attack. The footage shows the Premier talking about a meeting he had just attended on the economy.
Halqi, who was appointed prime minister in August 2012 after his predecessor Riyad Hijab defected to the opposition.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack.
A bombing in July 2012 that targeted the national security headquarters in Damascus during a cabinet meeting killed Syria’s defense minister and his deputy, Assad’s brother-in-law.
Last week, the Obama administration said it believes that Assad’s government has used chemical weapons, particularly the nerve gas sarin, against Syrian rebels and civilians “on a small scale.”
President Obama has said the use of chemical weapons by Syria, or the transfer of stockpiles to terrorist groups, would be a “red line” that could trigger U.S. reaction.