July 18 - Syrian state TV reports that a ''terrorist bomb'' kills Defense Minister Daoud Rajha and Assef Shawkat, the brother in-law of President Bashar al-Assad. Sarah Sheffer reports.
The area outside Syria's National Security headquarters, where a suicide bomb killed key figures of Bashar al-Assad's government. Defence Minister Daoud Rajha, seen here, was killed in the attack at a meeting of ministers and security officials in Damascus, according to state TV. Assef Shawkat, Assad's brother in-law, was also killed, and Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar was among the wounded, state TV reported. The bombing took place on a fourth straight day of fighting in the capital, said to be seen here in amateur video that Reuters cannot independently verify mainly due to Syrian media restrictions. The Free Syrian Army and Liwa al-Islam, an Islamist rebel group, have both claimed responsibility for the explosion. One security source said the suicide bomber was a bodyguard assigned to Assad's inner circle. It was not clear whether Assad himself was present. The bombing is the most serious blow to Assad's high command since anti-government revolts began 16 months ago. Sarah Sheffer, Reuters