Dozens killed in twin bombings near Shiite cemetery in Damascus

A double-tap bombing attack near a Shiite pilgrimage site in Damascus has killed dozens of people. Preliminary reports say more than 40 have been killed, the majority of whom were Iraqi nationals.

Two explosive devices went off about 20 minutes apart near Bab al-Saghir cemetery in Damascus’ Bab Mousalla area, the city’s Police Command told Syrian SANA news agency. 

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The police said at least 33 people have been killed and more than injured in the apparent terrorist attack. AFP and Reuters cited the Iraqi Foreign Ministry as saying 40 people, all Iraqi nationals, had perished.

Bab al-Saghir cemetery is located in the old city of Damascus. It contains the graves of several eminent companions of the Prophet Mohammed, including his two wives. The place is often frequented by Shia Muslims, as it has several Shia mausoleums that draw pilgrims from across the globe.

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

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In February, at least 50 people were  and dozens injured in a string of suicide blasts in the Syrian city of Homs, where a total of six suicide bombings rocked military facilities, including the headquarters of the country’s security service and a building housing Syrian military intelligence.

The attacks were claimed by Al-Nusra Front militants.