BEIRUT (AP) – At least four nuclear scientists and electric engineers were killed near Damascus after gunmen opened fire on their bus, a pro-government Syrian newspaper and activists said on Monday. There was no fighting around where the men were killed, suggesting they were the target of the attack, activists said.
The pro-government Syrian newspaper Al-Watan said the men were heading to the Scientific Research Centre near the Syrian capital when they were attacked on Sunday.
The newspaper said the four were Syrian nationals, and suggested the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front was behind the attack.
Rami Abdurrahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said five nuclear engineers were killed, and that one of them was an Iranian national. The Britain-based Observatory closely monitors Syria’s fighting through a network of activists on the ground.
Abdurrahman said there was no fighting around where the men were killed, near a bridge on a highway leading out of Damascus.
“There were no clashes there at all. It was an operation to assassinate them,” said Abdurrahman.