Update: Syria's news agency, Sana, announced Lt. Gen. Hisham Ikhtyar, Head of the National Security Office, was "martyred" this week by a "terrorist explosion" during a meeting at the National Security headquarters.
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Lt. Gen. Hisham Ikhtyar
Several reports say a dramatic bombing this week in Damascus that killed Syrian defense minister Gen. Dawoud Rajha, has now claimed the life of the intelligence minister. Al-Manar television, which is associated with Hezbollah in Lebanon, claims Hisham Ikhtyar died of wounds he received when a bomb exploded during a meeting of senior Syrian military leaders.
Wednesday's astonishing attack also killed Gen. Assef Shawkat, President Bashar Assad's brother-in-law, who served as deputy defense minister, and Gen. Hassan Turkman, a former Syrian defense minister. Ikhtyar was injured.
News of his death comes as the three key Assad aides are buried today, notes the Guardian.
Meanwhile, Al-Jazeera reports heavy fighting continues in Damascus, with government tanks and other heavy weapons deployed in the capital. The media organization adds rebels have taken control of Syrian border checkpoints with Turkey and Iraq. The border with Lebanon is "porous" and Syrians are fleeing into Lebanon to seek medical help and escape fighting.