DAMASCUS, Syria — Syria's interior minister said an explosion near a bus parked at a gas station in a Damascus suburb was an accident and three people were killed.
The minister, Said Mohammad Sammour, ruled out a terrorist attack in a statement to state-run Syrian TV. He said the Iranian bus driver and two Syrian gas station workers were killed when a tire they were pumping air into exploded.
An Associated Press photographer at the scene in the Sayyida Zainab suburb in southern Damascus saw a damaged bus, its back side gutted and charred, with several windows and the back windshield blown out.
Lebanese LBC TV broadcast footage showing the heavily damaged bus from the back, the part near the engine blown apart.
A local resident in the area said the explosion set off a fire, possibly from diesel that poured from the tank. He refused to give his name because he feared reprisal from Syrian authorities.
Another man who lives nearby, Mohammed al-Khalil, 54, said he heard a small explosion, about 6:30 GMT, and ran to see what had happened. He said he saw a man was thrown about 15 yards (meters) away from the blast.
Syrian TV quoted Sammour as saying "there were no explosives involved" in the accident. He added there were no pilgrims nearby when the explosion occurred.
The suburb is popular with Iranian and other Shiite pilgrims and is the location of a shrine dedicated to the granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad.
Police sealed off the area and reporters were banned from reaching the site.
I'm not insane right? This is a cover up? A tire exploding doesn't cause a fire and a bus to be charred like that. For fucks sake do you know how much air you have to put into a tire to make it explode? I have a car and when I was younger I accidently put 75 psi into the tire that only needs 35psi. It didn't explode on me! I drove 30 miles home. No explosion. And even if there was an explosion it wouldn't cause my car to blow up.