Sunday, February 1, 2015

Blast targeting bus near Shi'ite shrine in Damascus kills at least 6 Lebanese pilgrims, wounds 19

DAMASCUS (Reuters) - A bomb tore apart a bus carrying Lebanese Shi'ite Muslim pilgrims in Damascus on Sunday, killing at least six people and wounding 19 in a rare attack at the centre of the Syrian capital, a Reuters witness and local media said.

A social media account linked to al Qaeda's Nusra Front said the hardline Sunni group was behind what it described as a suicide attack on the bus near a market place.

The vehicle had Lebanese number plates and Syrian security services had cordoned off the area close to Hamidiyeh market, the Reuters witness said. Rescue workers sifted through the rubble and cleared away pools of blood from the ground.

Syria's state news agency SANA said the "terrorist bombing" involved five kilograms of explosives placed in the front of the bus and that authorities had defused a second device inside a bag which was found on the floor of the vehicle.

Earlier on Sunday Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi told parliament that Syria aimed to "flush out all terrorists" in 2015.

The bus had been carrying pilgrims close to the Sayyida Ruqayya shrine, according to television channel al-Manar, which is run by Lebanese Shi'ite movement Hezbollah.