ISIS militants claim Damascus bomb blast

British-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at eight

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ISIS militants claimed responsibility for detonating a car laden with explosives near a Syrian army checkpoint in the capital on Monday, a news agency close to the militants said.

State media earlier reported at least five were killed and 20 injured when a car bomb exploded near a Syrian army checkpoint in the Sayeda Zeinab area, south of Damascus.

Amaq news agency affiliated to the militants did not give details beyond saying the group was responsible for the bombing, the third such bombing attack this year.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the death toll at eight. It had no immediate word on whether there were civilians among the dead.

The shrine contains the grave of Zeinab, a venerated granddaughter of the Prophet Mohammad, and is known for its glistening golden onion-shaped dome.

An AFP correspondent said he heard ambulance sirens wailing through the streets of Damascus on their way to Sayyida Zeinab.
The area around the shrine, which is heavily secured with regime checkpoints hundreds of meters away to prevent vehicles from approaching, has been hit by ISIS several times this year.

A string of ISIS bombings near the shrine in February left 134 people dead, most of them civilians, according to the Observatory.

And in January, another attack claimed by ISIS killed 70 people.

Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah cited the threat to Sayyida Zeinab as a principal reason for its intervention in the civil war on the side of President Bashar al-Assad.

More than 270,000 people have been killed and millions more been forced to flee their homes since the conflict erupted in 2011.