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Syrian state TV: Passenger train driver dies in sabotage incident (UPDATE)

Arab World Materials 23 July 2011 15:24
The driver of a Syrian passenger train died when his locomotive overturned as a result of sabotage to the rails in the central city of Homs, state television reported on Saturday.
Syrian state TV: Passenger train driver dies in sabotage incident (UPDATE)

previous news was posted at 13:19

The driver of a Syrian passenger train died when his locomotive overturned as a result of sabotage to the rails in the central city of Homs, state television reported on Saturday.

Some 485 passengers on the train, which was travelling from Aleppo in the north to Damascus, survived the incident, DPA reported.

The television report said "subversive groups" had damaged the rails, showing footage of the damaged tracks and the train.

"For sure, it is a subversive act," Director of the Railways Authority in Homs George Essa told the private website Syria News.

"The saboteurs removed parts of the rail tracks," he said.

The incident took place hours after mass anti-government protests across the country, in which at least nine people were killed, according to the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria.

Broadcaster Al-Arabiya reported that explosions were heard early Saturday inside the military academy in Homs without providing further information.

Homs has for weeks been a centre of anti-government protests, which activists say have made the city the target of a draconian security clampdown.

The official Syrian News Agency SANA reported that army troops had rounded up what it described as members of armed groups in Homs for blocking roads and terrorizing residents.

More than 1,400 people have been killed by security forces since pro-democracy protests began in Syria in mid-March, local human rights advocates say.

The reports are difficult to verify, as Syrian authorities have barred most foreign media and international human rights groups from the country.

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