Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Unbelievable - U.S. Embassy in Syria attacked

Al-Qaida offshoot blamed in Syria attack.
Armed Islamic militants attempted to storm the U.S. Embassy in a brazen attack Tuesday, the government said. Four people were killed, including three of the assailants. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but an al-Qaida offshoot group was suspected, Syria's ambassador to the United States said.

No Americans were hurt in the attack, in which the militants used automatic rifles, hand grenades and at least one van rigged with explosives.

The al-Qaida offshoot group, called Jund al-Sham, has been blamed for several attacks in Syria in recent years, the Syrian ambassador, Imad Moustapha, said in comments to CNN.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice praised Syrian security agents for repelling the attack, but added it was too early to know who may have been behind it.

The attackers apparently did not breach the high walls surrounding the embassy's white compound in the city's diplomatic neighborhood.

One of Syria's anti-terrorism forces was killed and 11 other people were wounded, the official news agency reported. The wounded including a police officer, two Iraqis and seven people employed at nearby technical workshop.

A Chinese diplomat also was hit in the face by shrapnel and slightly injured while standing on top of a garage at the Chinese Embassy, China's Foreign Ministry said. The diplomat, political counselor Li Hongyu, was in stable condition at a hospital, the ministry said.

A witness said a Syrian guard outside the U.S. Embassy also was killed, but the government did not immediately confirm that. As at most American embassies worldwide, a local guard force patrols outside the compound's walls while U.S. Marines are mostly responsible for guarding classified documents and fighting off attackers inside the compound.
This comes five years and one day after the attack on America.

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