Syria: Bombings rock Damascus suburb Sayyida Zeinab

At least 12 people have been killed in suicide bomb
attacks on a suburb of Damascus which is home to
Syria’s holiest Shia shrine, state media say.
Islamic State group said three militants – two carrying
explosives belts and one with a car bomb – carried out the
attacks in Sayyida Zeinab, 10km (six miles) south of the
centre.
At least 55 other people were wounded.
Sayyida Zeinab, a predominantly Shia area, has been a
frequent target of attacks from jihadi groups.
The Sunni IS group says it was behind at least two other
bombings in the district earlier this year that killed more
than 150 people.
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Syrian state media said Sayyida Zeinab was hit by two blasts
on Saturday – a suicide attack at the entrance to the district
and then a car bomb attack in al-Teen street, not far from
the shrine.
There were a number of women and children among the
casualties, and some of the injuries were serious, Sana news
agency said.
The IS-affiliated Amaq news agency later said three IS
militants carried out the attacks.
The golden-domed Sayyida Zeinab shrine contains the grave
of one of the Prophet Muhammad’s grand-daughters, and
continues to draw many Shia pilgrims despite the civil war.
Shia fighters from around the region have joined the conflict
in Syria on the grounds that they wish to protect the shrine
from the civil war, observers say.
The Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah has cited it as a key
reason that it chose to fight on the side of Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad.
But this has made this suburb a prime target for the
government’s enemies, including IS, the BBC’s Alan Johnston
says.
More than 250,000 people have died and 11 million have
fled their homes in more than five years of civil war in Syria.

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