Dozens of people, including a prominent pro-government cleric, are dead in the Syrian capital following a suicide attack inside a mosque.
Syrian TV reported 42 people were killed and 84 wounded in the attack on the Iman Mosque. The pro-government cleric was Mohammed Saeed Ramadan al-Bouti, a longtime supporter of President Bashar Assad and imam of Damascus’ Ummayyad Mosque.
Here’s more from al-Jazeera:
“Bouti’s death is a major blow to Syria’s embattled leader, who is fighting mainly Sunni rebels seeking his overthrow.
“The cleric, believed to be in his 90s, has been a vocal supporter of his regime since the early days of Assad’s father and predecessor, the late President Hafez Assad.
“In recent months, Syrian TV has carried Bouti’s sermon from mosques in Damascus live every week. He also hosts a regular religious television programme.”
Syrian TV said Bouti’s grandson was among those killed.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, which comes a day after Assad’s regime said anti-government rebels used chemical weapons in an attack on the city of Aleppo. The U.N. said Thursday it would investigate those claims.