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Published: Sun, March 12, 2017
World | By Tasha Manning

Around 40 Iraqis dead in Damascus bombings: foreign ministry

Around 40 Iraqis dead in Damascus bombings: foreign ministry

Twin bombs targeting Shiite pilgrims killed 46 people in Damascus, a lot of them Iraqis, on Saturday in one of the bloodiest attacks in the Syrian capital.

He said the bombings targeted Iraqi pilgrims visiting Shia shrines in the area.

Interior Minister Mohammed al-Shaar visited the wounded in local hospitals. Those pilgrims, it now appears, were all Iraqis, according to Iraq's foreign ministry. He said the attacks targeted civilians, including Arab visitors, who were touring area's shrines.

Thirty-three people were killed and more than 100 injured in the explosions, which also damaged the cemetery, the agency reported. One source said two explosive devices targeted the buses carrying the pilgrims near the cemetery; another reported a roadside bomb blast followed by a suicide bombing against the police and rescue workers.

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

Arab TV Al-Mayadeen said at least 40 were killed, and the area was sealed by security after the explosions.

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The Sayeda Zeinab mausoleum to the south of Damascus, Syria's most visited Shi'ite pilgrimage site, has been hit by several deadly bombings during the six-year-old civil war.

The Observatory said the death toll is likely to rise because dozens were wounded in the blast.

Shiite shrines are a frequent target of attack for Sunni extremists belonging to al-Qaeda and the Islamic state (IS) militant group, not only in Syria but also in neighboring Iraq.

The Syrian authorities have not published official data on the victims.

More than 300,000 people have been killed and 11 million others displaced since the uprising against President Assad began in March 2011.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based organization with activists on the ground in Syria, said at least 46 people died in the explosions.

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