Beirut: Suicide bombers struck outside a Shiite shrine near Syria's capital yesterday, leaving at least 20 people dead, a monitor said, in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group.
A wounded man is carried at the scene of a double bombing attack outside the Sayyida Zeinab shrine, Damascus. Pic/AFP
Two suicide bombers, one in a car, attacked the entrance to the Sayyida Zeinab shrine, which is revered by Shiites around the world. At least 20 people were killed, including 13 civilians, and more than 30 wounded in the blasts.
IS claimed the attack via its Amaq news agency, saying it was carried out by three suicide bombers. The shrine, around 10 kilometres south of the centre of Damascus, is guarded by pro-government forces but has still been the target of several jihadist attacks.
Syria's official Al-Ikhbariya channel showed images from the scene of burned-out cars billowing with plumes of black smoke. Firefighters battled to extinguish the flames as shop signs lay in the street.
The last attack on Sayyida Zeinab on April 25 killed at least seven and wounded dozens. A string of IS bombings near the shrine in February left 134 people dead, most of them civilians, according to the Observatory.
In January, an attack claimed by IS killed 70 people. Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah cited the threat to Sayyida Zeinab as a principal reason for its intervention in Syria's civil war on the side of President Bashar al-Assad. The shrine contains the grave of Zeinab, a venerated granddaughter of the Prophet Mohammed, and is renowned for its glistening golden, onion-shaped dome.