Rebels target “Branch of Death” intelligence officer in Damascus car bombing

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FSA-affiliated rebels claimed responsibility for blowing up a military intelligence officer’s car at a checkpoint near Damascus’ Presidential Palace in revenge for those tortured and executed by military intelligence, the Abdal a-Sham brigade said in a statement circulated on Wednesday. “The car of an officer in Branch 215 was observed for several days, and Abdal a-Sham’s sleeper cells placed a bomb on the car. After the car reached a place where there were no civilians the bomb was detonated,” Abu al-Bardawi, a spokesperson for Abdal a-Sham, told Syria Direct. “[Wednesday's] operation comes on the heels of the identification of Dummar neighborhood residents among the Caesar photos and the arrest of nearly 550 people from the same neighborhood by the branch,” he continued, referring to photos of dead Syrian detainees leaked by a government defector codenamed Caesar. Abu al-Bardawi said that he could not confirm the number of injured or dead because security forces cordoned off the area after the attack. The Military Intelligence’s 215 Branch, which is tasked with carrying out raids in Damascus, is dubbed “the Branch of Death” by the opposition and has been accused by Human Rights Watch of torture.