(NPR) – Three explosions near a shrine revered by Shiite Muslims in Damascus have killed at least 45 people, according to reports from Syrian media and human rights monitors.
NPR's Alison Meuse, reporting from Beirut for our Newscast unit, says the Islamic State has claimed responsibility through its media outlets. She continues: "State media say the first blast was caused by a car bomb at a local bus station. Then, as people rushed to help the wounded, two suicide bombers with explosive belts detonated themselves in the crowd. Photos and videos posted online by activists show burned out cars and plumes of smoke rising into the sky. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 100 people are wounded.
"The area targeted, Sayyida Zeinab, is home to one of the holiest shrines in Islam, but which is especially revered by Shiite Muslims. Shiite militant groups allied with Bashar al-Assad's forces often use the defense of the shrine as a rallying cry for recruits."
Advertisement - story continues below