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Posts Tagged ‘Daoud Rajha’

SYRIAN DEFENSE MINISTER KILLED IN SUICIDE ATTACK

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 18, 2012

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Dawoud Rajha

By BASSEM MROUE and ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY, Associated Press

BEIRUT — A suicide bomber struck the National Security building in the Syrian capital Wednesday, killing the defense minister and wounding the interior minister in a brazen attack on the seat of government power, state-run TV said.

Defense Minister Dawoud Rajha, 65, a former army general, is the most senior government official to be killed in the Syrian civil war as rebels battle to oust President Bashar Assad. Interior Minister Mohammed Shaar was in stable condition, state-run TV said.

Although it was unclear who was behind the attack, the high-level assassination could signal a turning point in the 16-month conflict as the violence becomes increasingly chaotic.

The capital also has seen four straight days of clashes pitting government troops against rebels – an unprecedented challenge to government rule in the tightly controlled capital.

Rajha was the most senior Christian government official in Syria. Assad appointed him to the post last year. His death will resonate with Syria’s minority Christian population, who make up about 10 percent of Syria’s population and have generally stood by the regime.

Christians say they are particularly vulnerable to the violence sweeping the country of 22 million people, and they are fearful that Syria will become another Iraq, with Christians caught in the crossfire between rival Muslim groups.

Wednesday’s attack struck the National Security building in Damascus during a meeting of Cabinet ministers and senior security officials. State-run TV said some of the officials were seriously wounded. Read the rest of this entry »

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