Deadly twin bombings hit Damascus police station

Deadly twin bombings hit Damascus police station
The Islamic State group claims the double suicide bomb attack that hit a police station in Damascus on Monday, killing at least 17 people.
3 min read
03 October, 2017
A monitor reported a third explosion involved a car bomb outside the police station [Anadolu]
A double suicide bomb attack hit a police station in Syria's capital Damascus on Monday, state media said, with a monitor saying at least 17 people were killed.

The Syrian interior ministry said on Monday that the attack involved two suicide bombers, one of whom managed to penetrate the police station in the southern district of Midan and reach the first floor before his explosives detonated.

A monitor reported a third explosion involved a car bomb outside the police station.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, said at least 17 people were killed in the attack, among them 13 police officers.

Interior Minister Mohammed Shaar told reporters that one of the attackers had managed to enter the police station and reach the first floor of the building.

State television showed images of damage from inside the building, with a black police uniform shirt covered in dust lying in the rubble of partially collapsed walls.

Manal, a 28-year-old teacher living in Midan, said she heard at least two blasts on Monday afternoon.

"I was coming back from work when I heard the sound of an explosion, it was around 2:30 pm, I didn't know what it was, and then there was another explosion a few minutes later and buildings shook," she told AFP.

"Afterwards I heard gunfire, which usually happens to get people to move out of the way and clear the road so ambulances can get through to retrieve the injured," she added.

IS claims attack

The Islamic State [IS] group on Tuesday claimed the attack in a statement circulated on its social media accounts.

The group said three of its fighters armed with guns, grenades and explosives were involved in the attack in the southern neighbourhood of Midan on Monday.

Damascus has also been rocked by occasional bomb blasts throughout the Syrian conflict, including previous attacks on Midan, a middle-class residential and shopping district.

In December 2016, three police officers were wounded when a seven-year-old girl walked into the neighbourhood's police station wearing an explosive belt that was remotely detonated.

Rebel groups have been gradually expelled from territory in the capital they once held, though they maintain a presence in a handful of positions, including the Jobar neighbourhood.

They also hold territory in the Eastern Ghouta region outside the capital, and have regularly launched rockets into the city.

The Syrian conflict began when the Baath regime, in power since 1963 and led by President Bashar al-Assad, responded with military force to peaceful protests demanding democratic reforms during the Arab Spring wave of uprisings, triggering an armed rebellion fuelled by mass defections from the Syrian army.

According to independent monitors, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed in the war, mostly by the regime and its powerful allies, and millions have been displaced both inside and outside of Syria.

The brutal tactics pursued mainly by the regime, which have included the use of chemical weapons, sieges, mass executions and torture against civilians have led to war crimes investigations.

Agencies contributed to this report