Twenty dead in Damascus mosque bombing: ISIS targets holiest Shia shrine in Syria in Ramadan terror outrage

Bomb Attack

Bomb Attack

Two bombs killed 20 people outside the Sayyida Zeinab mosque in Damascus, the holiest Shiite shrine in Syria.
The official SANA news agency said a suicide bomber and a car bomb struck at the entrance to the shrine, which is revered by Shiites around the world.

ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack. The group, sometimes known as Daesh, consider Shiites to be heretics. But Syria’s Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi blamed Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, for being behind the ‘brutal massacres’.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitoring group, said they understood 12 people had been killed and 30 wounded.

The shrine, six miles south of the centre of Damascus, is heavily guarded by Assad regime forces but has still been the target of several attacks by ISIS and their acolytes.

Syria’s official Al-Ikhbariya channel showed images from the scene of burned-out cars billowing with plumes of black smoke on Saturday.

Firefighters battled to extinguish the flames as shop signs lay in the street. Syrian TV aired footage showing several cars and shops on fire and at least two heavily damaged buildings, whose balconies, doors and windows had been destroyed. Blood stains could be seen on the debris-covered road. Fire engines rushed to the scene.

State news agency SANA said the first blast was caused by a suicide attacker wearing an explosives belt and took place at the entrance of Ziabiyeh district while the second explosion was the result of a suicide attacker in a car rigged with explosives in al-Teen street.

The attack came as Sunni and Shia Muslims celebrated the holy month of Ramadan. The last attack on Sayyida Zeinab was on April 25 and killed at least seven and wounded dozens. In January another attack claimed by ISIS killed 70 people.

A string of ISIS bombings near the shrine in February left 134 people dead, most of them civilians.
The 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.