Damascus explosion kills 13


Smoke rises from the site of an explosion in Damascus on Sept. 26, 2012. Syrian rebels struck the heart of Damascus early Wednesday, setting off twin explosions near the headquarters of the armed forces general staff, state media said.



An explosion near Syria's interior ministry in central Damascus has killed 13 people and injured more than 70 others.

A bomb is believed to have been detonated in a square in the central district of Marjeh, killing both security personnel and civilians.

More from GlobalPost: Syria: Inside the battle for Damascus

Gunfire was also heard in the area of the blast.

The explosion is the second bombing in Syria's capital in the last two days, following Monday's car bomb explosion that appeared to target the country's Prime Minister, Wael al-Halqi, who was uninjured by the blast.

The bomb did, however, kill one of his bodyguards and five other people as his convoy passed through an upscale neighborhood.

Sharif Shehadeh, a Syrian member of parliament, told Al Jazeera after Tuesday's explosion that foreign influences were to blame. "Terrorism, sponsored by countries, is harming innocent Syrian civilians.... Syria is undermined by terrorism sponsored by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United States," he said.

He then commented on whether recent bombings are a response to government counter-offensives on rebel strongholds, saying: "The Syrian army is doing [an] excellent job in the Damascus suburbs and [the] countryside, as they have directed a big blow to the terrorists in many of the areas they are based in. The Syrian army and state is closing in on them day after day."

The UK-based activist group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has estimated that March was the deadliest month in yet in the Syrian conflict, with more than 6,000 people killed, a third of them civilians.