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Syria defense minister killed in attack

9:11 AM, Jul 18, 2012   |    comments
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BEIRUT -- Syria's rebel commander says his forces carried out an attack in Damascus that killed the defense minister and other regime officials. But he denies it was a suicide bombing.

Riad al-Asaad said in a phone interview from his headquarters in Turkey that rebel forces planted a bomb inside a room where senior government officials were meeting Wednesday.

Defense Minister Dawoud Rajha and his deputy Gen. Assef Shawkat, who also was President Bashar Assad's brother-in-law, were killed.

The rebel leader denies government claims that it was a suicide attack, saying all those who carried out the operation are safe.

He said the attack marked "the beginning of the end of the regime."

(Associated Press)

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