BEIRUT - Unknown assailants killed five nuclear engineers Sunday while they were on a bus just north of Damascus, near the research centre where they worked, a monitor said on Sunday. The Observatory for Human Rights was unable however to say how they were killed or supply their nationalities. “Unidentified attackers murdered five nuclear energy engineers who worked in the scientific research centre near the neighbourhood of Barzeh, northern Damascus,” said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.

“It was not immediately clear whether the bus that they were travelling on was hit by a bomb, or by gunfire,” Abdel Rahman told AFP. In July last year, six people who worked at the same centre were killed in a mortar attack carried out by rebels seeking President Bashar al-Assad’s ouster. Another military research centre, also near Damascus, was also hit by a deadly Israeli raid in May 2013.