At least six killed in bomb blast near shrine in Syria

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A bomb planted in a vehicle exploded in a Damascus suburb near the Sayyida Zeinab shrine on Thursday, killing several people and wounding others, Syrian state media reported.

A reporter for Syrian state television said a preliminary death toll indicated as many as six people may have died. The station broadcast footage of the charred front of a car.

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Photos shared by Al-Ikhbariya and pro-government media show the charred taxi surrounded by large crowds of people and men in military fatigues. The area’s buildings had green, red, and black Ashura flags and banners hung.

In a video shared on social media, people carried two men covered in blood and dust off the ground while calling for help. The glass facades of shops nearby had shattered, while one was on fire.

The neighborhood is named after the Sayida Zeinab shrine, the granddaughter of the Prophet Mohammed.

Protecting the shrine became a rallying cry for Shia fighters in the early years of the conflict, as it turned from an anti-government uprising into a sectarian civil war.

The deadly blast came ahead of the annual commemoration of Ashura, when Shia Muslims remember the death of the Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, in a seventh century battle.

The explosion is the second in the Sayyida Zeinab neighborhood in the days leading to Ashura. On Tuesday, Syrian state media citing a police official said that two civilians were wounded after a motorcycle laced with explosives was detonated.

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