Saturday, June 11, 2016
At least 12 dead in double bomb attack at Shi'a site in Damascus
A double bomb attack outside a Shia shrine near Syria's capital Damascus has killed at least 12 people, according to Syrian state media.The official SANA news agency said on Saturday that a suicide bomber and a car bomb struck at the entrance to the Sayeda Zeinab shrine, which is revered by Shias around the world.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attacks via an online post. It said two of its suicide bombers had blown themselves up and operatives had detonated an explosives-laden car, according to the IS-affiliated Amaq news agency.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a British-based monitoring group, reported a higher toll of at least 20 people killed and 30 wounded.
Syrian state television showed debris, mangled cars and wrecked shops in a main commercial thoroughfare near the Sayeda Zeinab shrine, in an area where at least three bomb attacks claimed by Islamic State have killed and wounded scores of people this year.
The shrine is a magnet for thousands of Iraqi and Afghan Shi'ite militia recruits who go there before being assigned to front lines, where they fight against the Sunni rebel groups trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad. Almost every Shi'ite militia fighter bears insignia on his combat fatigues with the words "For your sake, Sayeda Zeinab".
The attack cam at a time that U.S.-backed Syrian forces made new territorial gains against Islamic State on Saturday, moving closer to another of its major strongholds in northern Syria. The Observatory said the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), bringing together Kurdish and Arab fighters, were now almost 17 km (10 miles) from the city of al-Bab, an Islamic State stronghold north east of Aleppo.