April 27 - At least nine people are killed and 20 injured in an explosion in Damascus as U.N. monitors carry out field visits in the troubled country. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
A suicide bomber kills nine people and wounds 20 outside a central Damascus mosque, in another blow to a peace plan that the United Nations says President Bashar al-Assad has failed to honour.
The blast ripped through worshippers at the Zain al-Abideen mosque, which was under heavy security for Friday prayers, often a launchpad for anti-Assad protests, opposition activists said. State media said security officials were among the wounded.
A resident who spoke to security officials at the scene said a man had approached soldiers near the mosque and detonated a bomb belt when challenged. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
Earlier, a loud blast was heard in the capital's al Sinaa district near a garage used by government buses and pro-Assad militiamen tasked with preventing demonstrations.
Shopkeepers said the first blast hit a black Mercedes, which caught fire. The driver was wounded but no one else was hurt.
Central Damascus has been spared much of the violence, although Friday's blasts occurred less than a week after a car bomb near an Iranian cultural centre in the capital.
A handful of U.N. ceasefire monitors are already on the ground in Syria and U.N. officials said the full advance team of 30 out of a planned 300-strong presence would be there by Monday.
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