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13 killed in Damascus bombing, reports Syrian TV

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — A powerful bomb rocked Damascus on Tuesday, killing 13 people and wounding 70, Syrian state TV reported, a day after the country's prime minister narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in the heart of the heavily protected capital.

Although no one immediately claimed responsibility for the explosion, rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad's regime have increasingly targeted Damascus, the seat of his power. Tuesday's bombing was the second in as many days in the capital, increasingly wracked by violence as Syria's conflict enters its third year.

Damascus residents said they heard a powerful explosion and saw thick, black smoke billowing from behind a group of buildings.

Syrian TV said the explosion was caused by a "terrorist bombing" in the district of Marjeh, a commercial area in central Damascus. Assad's regime refers to opposition fighters as "terrorists."

The target of the attack was not immediately clear, although the explosion took place near the Damascus Tower, a 28-floor office building. The former Interior Ministry building is nearby and was damaged in the blast.

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