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Nine killed in Syria bomb attack

A suicide vehicle bomb has torn through the car park of a military compound in an eastern Syrian city, killing nine people, the country's state media reported.

It was the latest in a series of blasts in recent months targeting security installations.

State TV said the blast in Deir al-Zour also wounded dozens, and showed footage of damaged buildings, smouldering cars and trucks turned upside down. The station said UN observers based in the city visited the site of the blast.

State-run news agency SANA said the blast hit the car park of a military residential compound, while an opposition group, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reported that the bomb went off close to the city branches of the Military Intelligence Directorate and Air Force Intelligence.

Security agencies in several Syrian cities have been targeted by a wave of explosions since late last year, raising fears that al Qaida-linked Islamist militants, possibly including fighters from neighbouring Iraq, have made strong inroads into Syria's rebel movement.

The most recent bombing targeted an intelligence building in Damascus on May 10. It struck during morning rush hour and the high death toll - some 55 people - made it the deadliest such attack since the uprising against President Bashar Assad's regime began in March of last year.

Some of the tactics used in Damascus - a small blast drawing attention prior to a larger one - were reminiscent of al Qaida attacks during Iraq's insurgency.

Deir el-Zour is about 60 miles from the Iraqi border. The blast came a day after SANA reported that authorities foiled an attempt to blow up a car rigged with explosives in the city and detained those involved.

On Thursday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he believes that "alarmingly and surprisingly," al Qaida must have been behind the May 10 attack in the Syrian capital.

"The recent terrorist attacks in Damascus suggest that these attacks were carefully orchestrated," he said. "Having seen the scale and sophistication of these terrorist attacks, one might think that this terrorist attack was done by a certain group with organisation and clear intent. I have strongly condemned these terrorist attacks."

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