NEW YORK (AFP) — The United States on Saturday condemned a car bombing that killed 17 people in the Syrian capital, Damascus, an event described by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Saturday as "concerning."
"The United States condemns today's terrorist attack in Damascus, Syria, which killed at least 17 innocent people and injured numerous others," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.
"This attack is particularly abhorrent as it comes during the holy month of Ramadan. We extend our deepest sympathies to the victims and their families," he said in a statement.
"I just learnt this morning about the bombing in Syria," Rice earlier told reporters at the start of a meeting with Organization of the Islamic Conference secretary general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu in New York.
"Obviously, any activity by extremists is concerning. But I don't know the details."
Gordon Duguid, another spokesman for the State Department, said there was no evidence any US citizens were killed or injured in the incident, or of specific threats against the American community or embassy in Damascus.
He said that in view of heightened concern about security at the US embassy in Damascus, the consular section of the mission there would close for all but emergency services for American citizens from September 28 to 30.
Because of the Eid al-Fitr festival, which marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the embassy will not reopen until October 5.
A car bomb exploded near a Shiite shrine in south Damascus on Saturday, killing 17 people and wounding 14 in one of the deadliest attacks to hit Syria in more than a decade, state media said.
The car packed with 200 kilogrammes (440 pounds) of explosives blew up near a security checkpoint on a road to Damascus airport, in what Interior Minister General Bassam Abdel Majid described as "a terrorist act."
Copyright © 2013 AFP. All rights reserved. More »