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Apr 21, 3:58 AM EDT

Mortar shells hit near Syrian parliament, kill 5

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DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) -- Syria's state-run media say a pair of mortar shells hit near the parliament building in central Damascus, killing five people.

SANA news agency says the mortars struck some 320 feet (100 meters) from the parliament in the Salihiya area of the Syrian capital on Monday morning.

No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but Syrian rebels often fire mortar shells into government-controlled areas of Damascus. They say they are punishing pro-government forces for besieging areas controlled by the opposition, denying residents food, clean water and medical aid, and for dropping crude bombs on residential areas.

Mortar shells cannot be precisely targeted and often kill civilians.

Syria's conflict is now in its fourth year. It has killed over 150,000 people and forced one-third of the country's population from their homes.

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