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Three dead in attack on Syria TV: state media

Syrian television headquarters bombed, killing three staff, as information minister demands that the European Union bear responsibility for imposing sanctions and 'inciting violence'

AFP , Wednesday 27 Jun 2012
Omran al-Zoubi sworn in as new Information Minister by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus in this photo distributed SANA, Wednesday (Photo: Reuters)
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Views: 1333

A "terrorist attack" on the main offices of a pro-government satellite television channel near Damascus killed three staff early on Wednesday, state media reported.

Live footage broadcast by state television showed extensive damage to the studios of Al-Ikhbariya television with several small fires still burning.

"The terrorist groups stormed the offices of Al-Ikhbariya, planted explosives in the studios and blew up them with up along with the equipment," Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi told the television in a live interview.

"They carried out the worst massacre against the media, executing journalists and security staff," Zohbi said.

"This didn't come out of nowhere," he added, pointing to European Union sanctions imposed on the pro-government media.

"All those who incite to violence, all those who campaign against Syria, whether they be media outlets, officials or the (UN) Security Council, and particularly all those who ignore the presence of armed men, must bear the full responsibility for this crime," he said.

An unidentified pro-government television channel was among the organisations hit by the latest round of EU sanctions against the Syrian authorities imposed on Monday. The 27-nation bloc had already imposed sanctions on the state broadcast media.

Washington put the state broadcaster on its sanctions blacklist in March.

Syria has repeatedly accused Arab and Western governments of not being even-handed in the conflict that broke out in March last year, and of ignoring the growing presence of rebel fighters and the mounting toll they have exacted on the security forces.

The channel remained on the air despite the assault, a fact hailed by state television.

"Despite the barbarity of the terrorists' crime and their attempt to silence the voice of Syria... Al-Ikhbariya is still broadcasting," it said in a commentary.

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