UPDATE 1-Explosion near Damascus hotel causes casualties - state TV

Sun Nov 4, 2012 5:48am EST

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AMMAN Nov 4 (Reuters) - An explosion occurred outside the premises of a state-controlled labour union behind a hotel in the Syrian capital Damascus on Sunday, causing casualties, state television said.

The blast, which the television described as "terrorist" - the government's word for rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad - took place in the union's parking lot. It gave no more immediate details.

"The terrorist explosion caused several injuries. One of (the injured) is in a critical condition," the television said.

Opposition activists told Reuters the explosion was near heavily-guarded army installations in the heart of the capital.

Rebels have carried out a series of bombings targeting government and military buildings in Damascus this year, bringing the civil war to the heart of Assad's power.

Islamist militant groups Ahfad al-Rasoul and Ansar al-Islam said last month said they had planted bombs in a major state security compound in Damascus. They also claimed responsibility for suicide car bombs earlier in October that hit a security compound on the edge of Damascus.

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