BEIRUT -- Twin suicide bombs exploded yesterday near a government security compound in northern Syria and rockets struck the central bank in Damascus, killing nine people and wounding 100.

The regime and the opposition accused each other of dooming a United Nations cease-fire plan that has largely failed. The head of the UN observer mission acknowledged that his force cannot end the crisis alone and urged that fighting stop.

The attacks are the latest in a series of suicide bombings that started in December and have mostly targeted military and intelligence positions.

The regime routinely blames the opposition, which denies having the capability to carry out such attacks. U.S. officials suggested al-Qaida militants may be joining the fray, and an al-Qaida-inspired Islamist group has claimed responsibility for previous attacks in Syria.

The powerful blasts, which opened two craters and ripped the facade off a multistory building, came a day after Maj. Gen. Robert Mood took up his post in Damascus as head of the UN observers.

Yesterday's bombs went off in the northern city of Idlib, an opposition stronghold government troops recaptured in a military offensive earlier this year. -- AP

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