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UN team evacuated after Syria blast

A team of international observers has been evacuated from a tense town in northern Syria the day after their convoy was hit by a roadside bomb, a UN spokesman said.

Syria-based UN official Hassan Seklawi said UN members picked up the team after they were apparently stranded in the town of Khan Sheikhoun overnight with members of the opposition.

The UN said rebel forces gave the six observers shelter in the town, which has witnessed anti-government protests since an uprising against president Bashar Assad's regime began in March last year.

Major General Robert Mood, the Norwegian head of the UN team, said that he had spoken to the observers in Khan Sheikhoun by telephone and that they "told us that they are happy and safe where they are".

A spokesman for international peace envoy Kofi Annan said the observers were caught up in the explosion as they met the rebel Free Syrian Army. He said three vehicles were damaged, but no observers were injured.

More than 200 UN observers have been deployed throughout Syria to monitor a ceasefire agreement that has been repeatedly violated by both sides since it took effect on April 12.

Syria-based UN spokesman Hassan Seklawi said UN members picked up the team around noon.

"They left in one convoy in the direction of Hama," Mr Seklawi said, referring to a central city south of Khan Sheikhoun.

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