Death toll of Damascus blasts rises to 74: SOHR

  • Death toll of Damascus blasts rises to 74: SOHR

Death toll of Damascus blasts rises to 74: SOHR

A double bomb attack in Syria's capital city of Damascus killed at least 40 Iraqi Shi'ite pilgrims and wounded approximately 12o, according to Iraq's Foreign Ministry.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Jamal said the attackers used improvised explosive devices in the attack on the pilgrims who were traveling to the "holy shrines" by bus. The cemetery is one of Syria's most ancient and is where many prominent religious figured were buried.

Syrian authorities and monitors cited conflicting reports about the cause of the blasts.

AFP reporter said that he saw puddles of blood in the area, while a resident reported that the first blast occured, and was followed by the second after people had gathered to help. The Hezbollah-run al-Manar TV station said it was carried out by two suicide bombers. The statement condemned the attacks.

The shrines are often visited by Iraqi, Iranian and Asian Shiites.

"Those responsible for the bombings, and anyone carrying out attacks against civilians, must be held accountable", he added.

Security forces have cordoned off the area and ambulances are rushing to the scene to transport the victims to hospitals, Al Mayadeen TV said.

There was no immediate claim for the Saturday's attack.

But periodic bombings have targeted Shia shrines and were subsequently claimed by hardline groups, including Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS).

Syrian alliance of jihadist groups, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, was created from a merger of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham - formerly al Qaeda's Nusra Front - and several other groups. Assad's government views all armed opposition as terrorist groups.