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Damascus Explosions Take Heavy Toll On Iraqi Shiite Pilgrims

Two explosions near a cemetery in Damascus targeted buses full of Shiite pilgrims, killing 40 and wounding another 120, prompting Iraqi and Syrian governments to form a joint investigative unit
Damascus Explosions Take Heavy Toll On Iraqi Shiite Pilgrims

Regime loyalist media reported two explosions near the Bab al-Saghir cemetery in the al-Shaghour district of Damascus which targeted buses carrying non-Syrian pilgrims to the Shiite shrines of Damascus.

The regime loyalist Damascus Now page said that the two explosions took place within a 20 minute interval, causing heavy damage, while medical sources reported that 40 had been killed and about 100 wounded, a heavy toll likely to rise.

The Al-Manar channel, mouthpiece for Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which is fighting alongside the Assad regime in Syria, reported that the two explosions killed 40 people and wounded another 120, most of them Iraqis. Quoting other sources, Al-Manar reported that, “two suicide bombers detonated their explosive belts near the al-Bab al-Saghir cemetery in central Damascus, a quarter of an hour apart, killing and wounding a large number.”

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry condemned the blasts in a statement, and announced the formation of an emergency unit in coordination with the Assad regime government to count the names of the dead and wounded.

The regime news agency SANA reported previously that a source in the Damascus governorate police under regime authority said: “Terrorists this afternoon detonated two explosives near the Bab al-Saghir cemetery between the Bab Musla and Bab al-Jabiyah areas, killing and wounding a number of people and causing material damage at the cemetery.”

Eyewitnesses in the area said that the regime security forces encircled the area. They said that there was a high level of security tension and intense gunfire.

This is not the first time Shiite pilgrims have been targeted in Syria. Last year in Damascus, buses near al-Hamidiyeh were similarly targeted, leading to a number of casualties.

This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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