The bomber blew himself up at 10:55 am (0855 GMT) in the historic Midan quarter in a crowded area near a school, Interior Minister Lieutenant General Mohammad al-Shaar was quoted as saying by the SANA news agency.
Authorities have found 11 dead bodies and parts of 15 others, the interior minister said, adding that 63 others were wounded by the blast. The Muslim Brotherhood, which accused President Bashar al-Assad's regime of orchestrating the December 23 twin suicide attacks in Damascus that killed 44, levelled a similar charge over today's bombing.
"We hold the regime, its agents and its gangs, fully responsible for this crime," the Brotherhood said in a statement received by AFP in Nicosia. The United States condemned the bombing. "We categorically condemn this attack," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.
While she would not say who might have been responsible, Nuland said "we do not think violence of any kind at anybody's hands is the right answer to the problems in Syria." Syrian state media have circulated gruesome images of rescuers gathering body parts and placing them in plastic bags, in an area where damaged cars and buses were splattered with blood. Angry residents shouted and denounced the bombing as the work of "terrorists."