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US embassy attacked in Damascus

Syrian authorities say they have foiled a car bomb attack against the American embassy in Damascus, reportedly killing two men who tried to storm the building in a van loaded with explosives. “A terrorist operation targeted the US embassy. Security forces have brought the situation under control,” said Bassam Abdul Majid, interior minister, on Syrian state television. Heavy gunfire was heard around the embassy and smoke was seen rising from the street where it is located. Television pictures showed a white van, apparently rigged with explosives and gas canisters. TV footage also showed a pool of blood in front a door. No one inside the embassy was injured. It was not clear if any of the Syrian security men guarding the building were hurt. Some reports spoke of one guard being killed. Eyewitnesses were quoted as saying that two men got out of the van and exchanged gunfire with the security guards. Eyewitnesses said the two men sought refuge in a nearby building, but the guards pursued them and shot them dead. A Syrian member of parliament told al-Jazeera television that it was possible that extremist organisations had sleeping cells in the country. He said the authorities had uncovered a number of extremist groups especially in the areas surrounding Damascus. (