Two suicide bomb attacks killed at least 31 people and wounded dozens more in Damascus on Wednesday, state media reported, in the second such spate of bombings in the Syrian capital in five days.
The first suicide bomber targeted the Palace of Justice, the main courthouse in central Damascus near the Old City. Justice Minister Najem al-Ahmad told reporters the initial death toll was 31, mostly civilians.
The second suicide blast struck a restaurant in the al-Rabweh area of Damascus to the west of the first attack, causing several casualties, state media reported.
State news agency SANA cited the Damascus police as saying that there were 102 injured in the courthouse attack, and 28 injured in the restaurant.
Analysts who follow Syria have predicted that as rebels fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad suffer military reverses, they will increasingly turn to guerrilla attacks in territory controlled by the government.
As well as the Damascus bombings of recent days, which coincide with the sixth anniversary of the protests that sparked Syria's civil war, attackers also struck twice the government-held city of Homs in the past few weeks.
The courthouse bomber set off his explosive device at 1:20 pm local time as the police tried to search him and stop him from entering the building, state television cited the Damascus police chief as saying.
Syrian state television broadcast footage from inside the courthouse, showing blood splattered on a floor littered with papers, a shoe, broken tiles and stones. Images from a hospital showed a man in a suit on a stretcher with blood on his clothes.
The explosion hit the courthouse "at a time when the area is crowded" with lawyers, judges and civilians, harming a large number of people, Ahmed al-Sayyid, a senior state legal official told state-run al-Ikhbariya TV.
He later added that 45 people had been wounded. No further details were immediately available.