Isis kills at least 60 people in triple suicide bomb attack near holiest Shia shrine in Syria capital Damascus

Suicide bombers detonated a car bomb at a bus stop, before triggering more explosions as rescuers rushed to help

Rebecca Flood
Sunday 31 January 2016 13:04
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Refugees in Damascus. The bombing comes as delegates attend UN peace talks aimed at resolving the crisis
Refugees in Damascus. The bombing comes as delegates attend UN peace talks aimed at resolving the crisis

Isis has claimed responsibility for a triple bomb attack near the most holy Shia mosque in Syria that has killed more than 60 people.

Suicide bombers detonated an explosive at a bus stop in capital Damascus, before triggering more blasts as rescuers rushed to help those hurt.

Hundreds are thought to have been injured near the mosque, which is situated in the mainly Shia district, Sayyida Zeinab.

The ministry initially reported 45 people were killed, but local police said the death toll was set to rise.

"Dozens were injured. Some of those injured are in a critical condition," a spokesperson said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based opposition group that monitors the conflict, said at least 63 people were killed, including 25 pro-government Shiite fighters. It said the dead fighters included Syrians and foreigners.

The suburb is one of the first areas where Lebanon's Hezbollah group sent fighters in 2012 to protect it from Sunni extremists who vowed to blow up the shrine. Hezbollah and Shiite groups from Iraq are known to have fighters in the area.

A website affiliated with Isis group said it had carried out the attack.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said it could be an attempt to disrupt peace talks in Geneva.

"The attack near the Sayeda Zeinab shrine is clearly aimed to disrupt the attempts to start a political process," she said.

She said it was encouraging that members of Syria's opposition and government were present in Geneva for negotiations.

Eyewitnesses said on social media that at least 76 people had been killed, with women and children among the dead.

The coordinated attack saw a car bomb exploding near a passenger bus before twin suicide bombers detonated their vests.

Photos from the scene show charred buildings and streets covered in rubble, littered with burnt out vehicles.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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