The United States has expressed gratitude to Syria after its security forces intervened against an armed group trying to blow up the US embassy in Damascus. The car bomb attack was carried out by four men who also planned to storm the building. Three were killed in a shootout with Syrian guards. A fourth was wounded, one of over a dozen people injured during the assault. One member of the Syrian security forces was reportedly killed. No American personnel were hurt in the incident in one of the most heavily-guarded parts of the Syrian capital, but a Chinese diplomat was reported slightly wounded by a stray bullet as he stood on a nearby roof.
Syria’s Interior Minister Bassam Abdel Majid said it was clearly a terrorist attack targeting the American embassy, adding that the identity of the group involved was still unclear. Eyewitnesses say one car bomb went off while another failed. Pictures filmed at the scene showed a van packed with gas canisters and detonators. The four men were said to have shouted Islamic slogans as they launched their assault, firing automatic rifles, just one day after the US marked the fifth anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks. Syrian forces have clashed with Islamist militants several times in recent months.