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25 killed in Syria bomb blast

BEIRUT -- A bomb exploded Friday at a busy Damascus intersection, killing 25 people and wounding dozens in the second major attack in the Syrian capital in as many weeks, officials said, vowing to respond to further security threats with an "iron fist."

The government blamed "terrorists," saying a suicide bomber had blown himself up in the crowded Midan district. But the country's opposition demanded an independent investigation, accusing forces loyal to the Syrian regime of being behind the bombing to tarnish an uprising against President Bashar Assad.

It was impossible to determine the exact target, but a police bus was riddled with shrapnel and blood was splattered on its seats, according to Syrian TV video and a government official.

State media said most of the dead were civilians but included security forces. Midan is one of several Damascus neighborhoods that have seen frequent anti-Assad protests. -- AP

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