ISIS pounding Damascus with bombs

Sayeda Zeinab in Damascus was targeted with a suicide bomb and a car bomb. This is the third attack on the target.

A double bomb attack outside a Shia shrine near Syria’s capital Damascus has killed at least 12 people, according to state media, in the latest in repeated deadly strikes on the site.

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.

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.

The shrine, about 10km south of the centre of Damascus, is heavily guarded by pro-government forces but has still been the target of several attacks, including those claimed by ISIL.

It contains the grave of Zeinab, a venerated granddaughter of Prophet Muhammad, and is notable for its glistening, golden dome.

Syria’s official Al Ikhbariya channel showed images from the scene of burned-out cars billowing with plumes of black smoke.

Firefighters battled to extinguish the flames as shop signs lay in the street.

“This is not the first, not the second, but the third attack to target the same point,” Alaa Ebrahim, a journalist who visited the scene on Saturday, told Al Jazeera from Damascus via Skype.

Having seen the extent of the damage, Ebrahim said he expected the death toll to rise.

 

 

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