Accessibility links

Breaking News

Deadly Twin Explosions Hit Holy Shi'ite Area Near Damascus

The holy Sayyida Zeinab shrine has been a frequent target of suicide and car bombings in Syria's civil war. (file photo)

Syrian state media say at least 12 people have been killed and 55 others, including children injured after two blasts rocked a Damascus suburb that contains Syria's holiest Shi'ite Muslim shrine.

A suicide bomb attack and a separate car bomb blast occurred on June 11 at the entrance to the Sayyida Zeinab shrine located in a suburb with the same name, the SANA news agency said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitoring group, put the death toll in the twin attacks at 20 people.

The Islamic State (IS) extremist group has claimed responsibility the attacks.

The heavily guarded shrine to Sayyida Zeinab, the daughter of the first Shi'ite imam, Ali, and granddaughter of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, is revered by Shi'a around the world and receives thousands of pilgrims each year.

Sayyida Zeinab has been a frequent target of suicide and car bombings in Syria's civil war, now in its sixth year. Some of them have been claimed by the extremist Islamic State group.

On April 25, eight people died when a suicide bomber detonated his explosive-packed vehicle at a military checkpoint in the suburb.

In February, a series of blasts ripped through Sayyida Zeinab, killing at least 83 people and wounding more than 170.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and dpa