ISIS claims blasts near Shiite shrine in Damascus

The Sayyida Zeinab suburb is home to one of Shiite Islam's most renowned shrines by the same name

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ISIS has claimed responsibility on Saturday for a car blast and suicide bombings in Syria’s south Damascus quarter that killed at least 20 people, the militants-linked Amaq News Agency reported.

A monitoring group said at least 20 people were killed, including 13 civilians, in the twin bombings outside a Shiite shrine near Syria’s capital on Saturday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than 30 people were wounded in the attacks at the entrance to the Sayyida Zeinab shrine.

Earlier, Reuters said at least eight people were killed and scores wounded in the blasts on Saturday in the Damascus suburb that contains Syria’s holiest Shiite Muslim shrine, state television said.

State media, which flashed the news, did not give further details about the bombings in the Sayeda Zeinab area, where at least three bomb attacks claimed by ISIS militants have killed and injured scores of people this year.

A Shiite religious cleric on the state-run Ikhbariyah TV channel said the car bomb blast was not far from the shrine area in the main al-Taen street.

The heavily garrisoned area is a well-known stronghold of Lebanon’s powerful Shiite Hezbollah group, a major backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Thousands of Iraqi and Afghan Shiite militia recruits who volunteer to fight against the Sunni rebel groups trying to bring down Assad’s government normally come to the area before being sent to frontlines across Syria.

They say they come to Syria to defend the Sayeda Zeinab shrine from radical Sunni extremists.

(With Reuters)

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