A senior Syrian army officer was wounded in a suicide bombing in a central Damascus district on Monday, a monitoring group said, though the military denied the report.
“A major general who heads the munitions and supply division of the Syrian army was injured and one of his companions killed and two hurt in the rebel attack,” said Rami Abdul Rahman, the head of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which employs a network of people on the ground.
But a Syrian army source who spoke to Reuters denied a senior figure had been wounded. He said five people had staged the attack, which occurred in the bustling central district of Rukn al Din. All were killed or arrested, he said.
Other than the attackers, the bombing killed one person and injured five injured in the terror attack, some of whom were in critical condition, he added.
Earlier, a Syrian army source on state television said the suicide bomber blew himself up in Rukn al Din. The neighbourhood houses several security compounds, according to residents. It is also home to many Syrian Kurds.
The army source told state television the security forces had killed all the members of “a terrorist group” in the district during a chase after the bomber blew himself up.
A resident contacted using Viber said the army had sealed off the main streets of the neighbourhood. Security forces detained scores of people after the explosion rocked the quarter.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said many senior officials live in the area and a number of major branches of Syria’s intelligence apparatus are based there.
The heavily defended heart of government-controlled Damascus city has seen several major bombings over the past four years during a civil war that has killed more than 200,000 people.
Suicide bombings are rare, but one killed several members of President Bashar al-Assad’s inner circle in the Syrian capital in July 2012.