Syria’s state TV said the country’s deputy prime minister and defense minister, Gen. Daoud Rajha, and Assad’s brother-in-law, Assef Shawkat, have been killed in a suicide bombing which hit the building of National Security in Damascus on Wednesday.
The National Security building, an ultra-protected site, is located in the neighborhood of Rawda, in the center of the capital.
The head of the national security, Gen. Hisham Ikhtiar, was injured in the attack. Reuters news agency said that Ikhtiyar was undergoing surgery following the attack.
Al-Arabiyya reported that Minister of the Interior Mahmoud Ibrahim was killed as well, while the A-Manar TV reported that the deputy chief of staff had died in the attack. Syrian media reported that the Interior minister Mohammad Ibrahim al Shaar is alive but seriously injured.
According to a source close to the security services, the bomber was a bodyguard close to the Assad regime. The bomber detonated his explosive belt at the time of the meeting of key leaders in the security building.
Syria's intelligence chief Hisham Bekhtyar was also wounded and is undergoing surgery, security sources said.
Meanwhile, security officials told AFP that several other participants in a top-level meeting were wounded in the blast and taken to al-Shami hospital in the capital for treatment.
Two groups claimed responsibility for the explosion, the Islamist rebel group Liwa al-Islam and Free Syrian Army fighters.
"It's the volcano we were talking, we're just getting started," spokesman for Free Syrian Army Qassim Saadeldine said.
This bombing, by all means, is considered to be successfull and a big hit to Assad's regime. Today, we can say that, Assad regime is counting down to go forever.
The operation did not please the Syrians only, but also Palestinians. The slain Syrian defense minister, was the leader of the massacre in which over 6,000 Palestinian (refugees) were killed in Lebanon at Tal el Zaatar in 1976.
Assef Shawkat was responsible for killing many Palestinians and Lebanese, plus he was considered as the biggest thief in the Syrian regime. We don't feel sorry at all for their assassination. All the world is waiting the fall of the Syrian regime soon.
"If one of them falls, they all do."
Syrian General Hassan Turkmani, a former defense minister and senior military official, died of wounds sustained in the building of National Security bomb attack, the official SANA news reported .