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Syria National Security Chief Dies of Wounds, State Funerals Held for Slain Officials

General Hisham Ikhtiyar, the head of Syrian national security wounded in a Damascus bomb blast that killed three senior officials, died of his wounds on Friday, state television announced, as state funerals were held in Damascus for the three top officials who died on Wednesday.

"The leadership of the (ruling) Baath party offers its condolences to the people on the death of the comrade, General Hisham Ikhtiyar, chief of national security, who succumbed to his wounds before noon," the broadcaster said.

Ikhtiyar was wounded along with Interior Minister Mohammed al-Shaar in the Wednesday bombing at National Security headquarters, which was claimed by the rebel Free Syrian Army.

There was still no official word on Shaar's condition, but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights earlier said it was "unstable."

Defense Minister General Daoud Rajha, Assad's brother-in-law Assef Shawkat and General Hassan Turkmani, head of the regime's crisis cell on the uprising, were all killed in the explosion.

Ikhtiar, aged 71, was a key figure in the Assad regime's repression of an uprising that erupted last year and has claimed more than 17,000 lives.

On May 20, he and a number of other senior officials survived an attempt to poison him. Three days later, he was included in a new list of people on which the European Union imposed sanctions.

A state funeral was held for Rajha, Shawkat and Turkmani in Damascus on Friday ahead of their burials in their native provinces, the official SANA news agency reported, adding that Vice President Farouq al-Sharaa had attended but not Assad himself.

Source: Agence France Presse


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