Blast hits Syria's Aleppo near ruling party HQ

BEIRUT Fri May 11, 2012 4:33pm EDT

1 of 15. Demonstrators hold Kurdish and opposition flags during a protest against Syria's President Bashar Al-Assad after Friday prayers in Qamishli May 11, 2012. REUTER/Omer Ali/Shaam News Network/Handout

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BEIRUT (Reuters) - An explosion hit Syria's northern city of Aleppo on Friday, close to the ruling party headquarters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The activist group said no one was killed by the blast itself but one guard at the headquarters died, apparently in a round of gunfire that followed the explosion.

"Initial details indicate that the Aleppo blast was targeting the local branch of the ruling Baath party and there is no information until now on the number of victims that fell in the explosion," the British-based group said in an email.

Activists in the city said they heard a very large noise that appeared to come from an area in the heart of Aleppo, Syria's largest city and business hub.

"The sound was so loud and after that there were a lot of echoes of gun fire. Now all the roads leading to Saadallah al-Jabiry square are closed down," said an activist who asked not to be named.

(Reporting by Erika Solomon; Editing by Maria Golovnina)

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