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Damascus: Attack foiled at US Embassy

AP and THE JERUSALEM POST | September 12 2006

Several terrorists tried exploding a vehicle outside the US Embassy in Damascus on Tuesday morning, and then exchanged gunfire with guards in the area.

The terrorists, according to some reports, drove up to the area of the embassy, exited the vehicle and opened fire with machine guns and hand grenades on embassy sentries. The guards then returned fire, after which the vehicle exploded.

It appeared that US Marines, stationed closer to the embassy building and responsible for the inner circle of security, were not involved in the battle. Syrian guards are positioned on the outer ring of the embassy area.

A worker at the American Embassy in Damascus said there were no apparent US casualties in the car bomb attack.

The Syrian government said security forces killed three attackers and wounded one after a "terrorist attack" against the embassy.

The Syrian government added that terrorists used two vehicles in their attack. The attackers detonated one vehicle, according to the Syrian government, while the second was controlled by Syrian security services before it exploded.

Witnesses also said that a Syrian security officer was killed as well.

An official at the Iraqi Embassy, which is located across the street from the American Embassy, said he saw smoke coming from the building. But the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press, said the whole area is surrounded by police and Iraqi Embassy workers are not allowed to leave the building.

The US ambassador to Syria was recalled some time ago by the Bush administration, while lower-level embassy staff still work in the building.

US President George W. Bush has consistently blamed Syria for facilitating terror attacks on US troops in Iraq from its territory. Along with Iran, Iraq and North Korea - Syria comprises what Bush has coined the "Axis of Evil."

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