On Saturday, May 18, 2013, a powerful car explosion hit the Ruken al-Deen neighborhood in Damascus, killing at least three people in the latest blast to strike the Syrian capital (population 1.7 million). The SANA news agency reported that an explosive device was planted under a car parked on Rukneddin highway near Ibn al-Nafis Hospital in Damascus, Syria. The initial death toll was put at three, and the number of injured at five.
An elderly driver in a 1997 Cadillac plowed into the parade, injuring at least 60 people, sending a dozen to the hospital.
"In 27 years of this, we've never had anything of this magnitude, and is it our job to make sure it doesn't happen again," Damacus Mayor Jack McCrady said.
The word Damascus means "a well-watered place."
One who died was Ilan Ramon, the first Israeli astronaut. His first name, Ilan, means "tree" in Hebrew. Ilan changed his last name from Wolferman when he joined the Israeli Air Force. On June 7, 1981, he was the youngest pilot taking part in Operation Opera, Israel's strike against Iraq's unfinished Osiraq nuclear reactor, 10 miles southeast of Baghdad.
A location often mentioned ten years ago for where the parts of the Columbia fell was Palestine, Texas. The irony of that location was not lost on many at the time, considering the fact the Columbia carried an Israeli aboard.
Palestine entered the news in February 2003, as one of the East Texas towns that received much of the debris from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, where seven astronauts were killed, including the first Israeli astronaut. Palestine is also home to the NASA Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (renamed after the shuttle crash), which has flown 1700 high-altitude balloons for universities and research agencies. Source.