The United States embassy in the Syrian capital Damascus has been targeted by car bombers who also tried to storm the building. At least one car bomb was involved. Some reports say attackers tried to crash a vehicle through the heavily-fortified compound. Other accounts say it was left parked outside. Shouting religious slogans, four men are said to have thrown a grenade into the yard of the complex. But the assault was repelled by security forces. Describing the attack as a “terrorist operation”, Syria’s Interior Minister Bassam Abdel Majid said three of the men were killed and a fourth injured.
At least one Syrian guard is also believed dead. All US diplomats are said to be safe. Heavy gunfire was heard and black smoke was seen rising from the area around the embassy in central Damascus. Syria, accused by Washington of helping insurgents in Iraq and backing groups such as Lebanon’s Hizbollah and the Palestinian Hamas movement, blames the rise of militancy in the region on US policies such as the war in Iraq and American support for Israel.