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Car bomb near school in central Syria kills 16, government and activists say

Syrian state media and an opposition watchdog say a car bomb has exploded near a school in a central province, killing at least 16 people and wounding dozens.

Syrian TV says Thursday's explosion in the al-Kaffat village in the central Hama province also caused extensive damage. The Hama police command says there were women and children among the victims.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which keeps track of the fighting in Syria through a network of activists on the ground, says 18 people were killed, most of them civilians.

Al-Kaffat's residents are mostly from the country's minority Ismaili sect, a branch of Shiite Islam.

Syria's conflict has pitted the mostly Sunni opposition against President Bashar Assad's Alawites, members of a Shiite offshoot sect.