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Syrian defense minister killed in suicide blast

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BEIRUT (AP) — Syria's state-run TV says the country's defense minister has been killed in a suicide blast in the capital.

Wednesday's attack struck the National Security building in Damascus during a meeting of Cabinet ministers and senior security officials. State-run TV said some of the officials were seriously wounded and later reported the defense minister killed.

The capital has seen four straight days of clashes pitting government troops against rebels, who are trying to bring down the regime by force.

The fighting is an unprecedented challenge to government rule in President Bashar Assad's seat of power.

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