Baku-APA. Syria's prime minister escaped a brazen assassination attempt Monday when a bomb exploded near his convoy in Damascus, state media reported, in the latest attack to target a top official in President Bashar Assad's regime, APA reports quoting Associated Press.
Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi was not hurt in the explosion in the capital's western neighborhood of Mazzeh, state TV said. The TV showed footage of heavily damaged cars and debris in the area as firefighters fought to extinguish a large blaze set off by the blast.
The state news agency said several people were killed in the blast, while the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights activist group said the explosion killed at least five, including two of al-Halqi's bodyguards and one of the drivers in his convoy.
As evidence that the prime minister was unhurt, the state-run Al-Ikhbariya station said al-Halqi went into a regular weekly meeting with an economic committee straight after the bombing. The station broadcast video of the prime minister sitting around a table in a room with several other officials.
But in comments after the meeting, al-Halqi made no reference to the blast, nor was he asked about it by reporters, leaving doubt as to whether the footage was filmed before or after the bombing.
The state news agency, meanwhile, quoted al-Halqi as saying that the assassination attempt exposes how armed groups "are bankrupt" after the latest advances made by Syrian troops around the country.
Syria's conflict started with largely peaceful anti-government protests in March 2011 but eventually turned into a civil war that has so far killed more than 70,000 people, according to the United Nations.