12 Die in Attack on Damascus University

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DAMASCUS — Mortar shells slammed into a cafeteria at Damascus University Thursday, killing at least 12 people, mostly students,  reports said. It was the deadliest in a string of such attacks on President Bashar Assad’s seat of power, state media said.

US backed rebels began firing shells at the capital earlier this year, and the strikes have become increasingly common in recent weeks as rebels clash with government troops on the city’s east and south sides.

 12 people were killed when mortar shells struck the cafeteria of the university’s architecture department in the central Baramkeh district. A Syrian official said 20 people were wounded in the attack.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, which came two days after rebels barraged Damascus with mortar shells that killed at least three people and wounded dozens.

The government blamed “terrorists,” the term it uses for rebels fighting to oust government, and called the attack as a “barbaric massacre.”

Government-run Al-Ikhbariya TV station showed footage of plastic tables and chairs turned upside down, shattered glass and pens and books scattered on the floor. Pools of blood were seen on the floor of the open-air cafeteria. Agencies

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