Dozens killed, wounded in airstrike near Damascus

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Jan. 2, 2013: This citizen journalism image taken from video provided by Shaam News Network, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a fire burning at the site of a Syrian government airstrike on a gas station in the eastern Damascus suburb of Mleiha, Syria. (AP)

www.wnd.com  –  Associated Press

BEIRUT –  A Syrian warplane blasted a gas station near Damascus Wednesday, killing and wounding dozens of people and igniting a huge fire in what could be one of the bloodiest attacks in weeks during the 22-month civil war.

Activists said a single Russian-built MiG fighter fired a missile that hit the gas station, setting off an inferno in the eastern suburb of Mleiha. Black smoke billowed from the site. An amateur video posted online showed charred bodies and gruesome carnage at the scene.

Mohammed Saeed, an activist who visited the site, said the missile struck as drivers waited in line with their cars at the station. Syria has been facing a fuel crisis, and people often wait for hours to get gasoline.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human said “tens of people were killed or wounded.” At least 10 bodies were seen in an amateur video.

“Many of the people who were there were killed,” Saeed said via Skype. “Body parts could be seen on the ground.”

He said the missile fired by the MiG warplane caused a crater three feet deep.

An amateur video showed several vehicles on fire and a cloud of smoke rising into the air. The videos appeared genuine and corresponded to other AP reporting on the events depicted.

It was unclear why the Syrian military targeted the gas station. There have been clashes and shelling in nearby areas in the past days.

Saeed said there were two other air raids in the nearby suburbs of Maadamiyeh and Deir al-Asafir.

“Since yesterday the raids have been very intense,” Saeed said.

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Video from youtube – Graphic
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