A suicide bomber killed the top two defense officials and the president’s national security advisor, and seriously wounded the interior minister and the chief of the national security office in an attack at a high-level meeting of security officials in Damascus today. The attack was claimed by both the “Brigade of Islam” and the Free Syrian Army.
The suicide bomber, who is said to have been a bodyguard of a senior official in the Assad regime, detonated his explosive vest during a high-level meeting at the National Security building in the Syrian capital. Defense Minister Daoud Rajha, Deputy Defense Minister Assef Shawkat, who is also President Bashir al Assad’s brother-in-law, and Hasan Turkmani, Assad’s national security adviser and assistant vice president, were killed in the blast, according to the state-run Syrian television. Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim al-Shaar and the chief of the national security office Hisham Bekhtyar were wounded in the attack.
An Islamist group calling itself the Brigade of Islam as well as the Free Syrian Army claimed credit for the attack. The Liwa al Islam, or Brigade of Islam, claimed it “targeted the cell called the crisis control room in the capital of Damascus” in a statement on its Facebook page, according to Al Jazeera.