DAMASCUS, March 21 (Xinhua) -- The death toll of a suicide bombing that shook a mosque in the Syrian capital Thursday has risen to 42, while 84 others were wounded, the state-run SANA news agency said.
Syria's prominent Islamic scholar, Mohammad Saed Ramadan al- Bouti, was killed in the blast while delivering a lecture to Muslim audience at al-Eman Mosque in the Damascus' district of Mazraa, the report said.
It added that the pro-government cleric was the primary target of the blast due to his anti-rebel stances, and al-Bouti's grandson was among the killed.
Sheikh al-Bouti, 84, was known for his anti-terrorism stances and criticism of the radical rebels. Radical groups in Syria have repeatedly bad-mouthed the scholar for his supportive stances of the administration of President Bashar al-Assad.
After al-Bouti's death, the rebels' Free Syrian Army denied responsibility for the attack, saying they "don't target the houses of God."
However, pro-opposition tweets on Twitter have shown great deal of gloating over the death of al-Bouti and branded him as "the Mufti of (President) Assad."