Car bomb kills several near Damascus shrine

Car bomb kills several near Damascus shrine
Video: At least eight dead in explosion targeting the Sayyida Zeinab shrine in Damascus, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
2 min read
25 April, 2016
A car bomb killed at least eight people near the revered Shia shrine of Sayyida Zeinab, south of the Syrian capital Damascus, on Monday.

The bomb struck Al-Diyabiyah, a town that serves as one of the gateways for the many pilgrims from around the world who visit the Shia holy site.

Another 20 people were also wounded, according to SANA, the Syrian state news agency.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a vast network of sources within Syria, put the death toll at eight. It was not able to report whether there were civilians among the dead.

The shrine contains the grave of Zeinab, a venerated granddaughter of the Prophet Mohammed, and is known for its glistening golden onion-shaped dome.

The area around the shrine, which is heavily secured with regime checkpoints hundreds of metres away to prevent vehicles from approaching, has been targeted by Islamic State group fighters several times this year.

A string of IS bombings near the shrine in February left 134 people dead, most of them civilians, according to the Observatory.

And in January, another attack claimed by IS killed 70 people.

Lebanese Shia militant group Hizballah cited the threat to Sayyida Zeinab as the primary reason for its intervention in the civil war on the side of President Bashar al-Assad.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and millions more have been forced to flee their homes since the conflict erupted in 2011.