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Death Toll In Damascus Twin Bombing Climbs To 74, Monitor Says

  • RFE/RL

Syrian security forces and locals gather at the scene of a bombing following twin attacks targeting Shi'a pilgrims in Damascus's Old City on March 11.

Syrian activists said the death toll from a twin bomb attack targeting a Shi’ite pilgrimage site in Damascus, has climbed to 74.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on March 12 that the dead included 54 civilians and 20 security personnel.

Most of those killed in the March 11 attack were Iraqi pilgrims who had come to the Syrian capital to visit Shi'ite shrines in Damascus's famed Old City.

An Al-Qaeda-linked group, the Levant Liberation Committee, claimed responsibility for the blast. The group said in a statement that the attack was carried out by two of its suicide attackers, claiming that they targeted pro-Iranian and pro-government militiamen.

Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told the AFP news agency that a roadside bomb went off as a bus carrying pilgrims made its way through the Bab al-Saghir area of the Old City before a suicide bomber blew himself up.

The attack has left dozens of people wounded and some of them are still in critical condition, the observatory said.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack.

Syria's state news agency SANA said 40 people were killed and around 120 others wounded by "two bombs detonated by terrorists."

Shi'ite shrines are a frequent target for Sunni extremist groups, such as Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State both in Syria and Iraq.

The Sayyida Zeinab mausoleum, Syria's most visited Shi'ite pilgrimage site, has been hit by several deadly bombings during the country's civil war.

With reporting by AFP, dpa, and Reuters
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