Syria Defense Minister Dawoud Rajiha Killed in Suicide Blast
A suicide bomber struck the National Security building in the Syrian capital Wednesday, killing the defense minister and wounding other senior officials in a brazen attack on the seat of government power, state-run TV said. The capital has seen four straight days of clashes pitting government troops against rebels, who are trying to bring down the regime by force. The fighting is an unprecedented challenge to government rule in the tightly controlled capital. Defense Minister Dawoud Rajha, 65, a former army general, was the most senior Christian government official in Syria. Assad appointed him to the post last year. Wednesday's attack struck the National Security building in Damascus during a meeting of Cabinet ministers and senior security officials. State-run TV said some of the officials were seriously wounded, and later reported the defense minister killed. Damascus-based activist Omar al-Dimashki said Republican Guard troops surrounded the nearby al-Shami Hospital where some officials were taken for treatment. Facing increasingly chaotic violence, the UN Security Council was scheduled to vote later Wednesday on a new resolution aimed at pressuring the Syrian regime to comply with a peace plan.
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