Reports: Blasts kill at least 40 at Shiite shrine in Damascus

At least 40 people were killed and 120 injured in two bomb blasts Saturday near shrines popular with Shiite pilgrims in the Syrian capital Damascus, Syria's interior minister and media reported.

Syrian state TV, quoting Damascus police officials, said two explosive devices went off  near Bab al-Saghir cemetery, where several prominent religious figures are buried.

Interior Minister Mohammed al-Shaar visited the injured in local hospitals, the Associated Press reports. He said 40 people were killed and 120 were injured.

He also said the attacks targeted civilians, including Arab visitors, who were frequenting the shrines in the area.

Iraqi Shiites often visit shrines in Syria, as do Iranians and other Shiites from Asia.

Reports from the scene on Syrian TV showed several burned out buses and a parking lot strewn with debris.

SANA, the Syrian state news agency, said the blasts were caused by bombs placed near the cemetery.

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. It blamed at least one of the blasts on a suicide bomber mingling with pilgrims.

USA Today


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