Death toll in Damascus mosque blast rises to 42-Syria government
BEIRUT, March 21 (Reuters) - An explosion at a mosque in the Syrian capital on Thursday killed at least 42 people, including a senior pro-government Muslim cleric, and wounded 84, the Syrian health ministry said.
State television and anti-government activists had earlier reported 15 dead. The television said a "terrorist suicide blast" hit the Iman Mosque in central Damascus, and Mohammed al-Buti, imam of the ancient Ummayyad Mosque, was among the dead.
Buti, a government-appointed cleric reviled by the Syrian opposition movement, delivered the official weekly Friday mosque sermons on state television.
(Reporting by Erika Solomon; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
TOKYO - President Barack Obama will use a state visit to Japan on Thursday to try to reassure Tokyo and other Asian allies of his commitment to ramping up U.S. engagement in the region, despite Chinese complaints that Washington's real aim is to contain Beijing's rise. | Video
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