International

Blasts from area of military airport

shake Syrian capital

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — A string of powerful blasts from the direction of a military airport in Damascus lit up the skies and shook the capital city in the early morning hours on Sunday, residents and state TV reported.

The explosions were seen and heard coming from the direction of the Mezzeh airport, southwest of the capital. The airport has been targeted in a number of airstrikes in recent years that the government has blamed on Israel.

The state-run Al-Ikhbariya TV station showed what appeared to be hand-held footage shot by residents of the capital capturing a string of bright explosions lighting up the night sky.

The TV station reported, citing an unnamed military source, that the explosions did not come from inside the airport but from a nearby munitions depot. The station said an electrical short circuit was to blame, and reported that emergency services were at the scene.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said the explosions came from inside the Mezzeh air base and said they were likely caused by an Israeli missile strike.

Israel rarely acknowledges strikes inside Syria but has said it would use military action to prevent weapons transfers to its enemies.

German police end march envisioned as far-right springboard

CHEMNITZ, Germany (AP) — Police in eastern Germany brought an early close Saturday to an anti-migrant march that far-right activists hoped would launch a nationwide movement to challenge the political establishment, with the fatal stabbing of a German citizen as the catalyst.

A trio of nationalist groups held separate rallies in the city of Chemnitz over the Aug. 26 slaying for which a Syrian and an Iraqi citizen were arrested. The two largest groups also organized their first joint march, a display of unity meant to build on other protests since the killing and a potent force to take hold.

Saxony state police cited security concerns for halting the march after more than an hour, producing screams and whistles from demonstrators as officers moved in to clear the streets but no violence or vandalism as the crowd dispersed.

The progress of the far-right march had been interrupted several times before then as counter-protesters blocked the route and the sizeable police contingent on hand rushed to keep them and the marchers apart.

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